28 votes

Does Rand Paul Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt?

Let’s be clear. Rand Paul is almost certainly the best sitting United States Senator (well, perhaps second best, as the Senator from Washington D.C. doesn’t get a vote, and can therefore do the least harm). This of course isn’t saying much when talking about the psychopathic, ignorant control freaks that largely populate the U.S. Senate. In contrast, Rand seems to be more reasonable and often falls on the right side of many issues. We here at Lions of Liberty have not hesitated to highlight when he is right on an issue, such as his support for the legalization of industrial hemp or his attempt to ban F-16 and M1 tank sales to Egypt.

On the flip side, we do not hesitate to criticize him when he’s wrong. We’ve taken him to task on his TSA “privatization” bill and his stance on government default, among other issues. I find that we often get flak from other libertarians when we criticize Rand Paul. This flak is typically not about the substance of the issue or our specific criticisms, but more often about the fact that we criticize him at all! We’ll often hear things like “Well hey, he’s mostly libertarian and he’s the best we’ve got!” One of our fans on Facebook even recently commented that Rand Paul was just “tiptoeing the establishment line” because it “is the only way to trick these idiots into voting for him” (emphasis mine).

It’s a wonderful fantasy, isn’t it? Rand Paul spends years mixing libertarian and establishment rhetoric, just enough to “trick” mainstream voters into supporting him. He then becomes President of the United States, rips off his Neocon Suit to reveal his “Ron Paul R3volution” shirt, ends the War on Drugs, brings the troops home, shuts down the Federal Reserve and ushers in a new age of freedom and prosperity!

Unfortunately, this scenario is just that…a fantasy.

We will never achieve a more free society just by getting certain politicians to say the right things and get elected and then enact their policies. The people must change the way they view government; they must change the way they view the use of collective violence to achieve their goals, rather than through free markets and reasoned persuasion. This can only occur by communicating the ideals of liberty to the masses, and by doing so in a principled and consistent manner. Rand Paul does not always do this, and it is important for the purposes of education to point out when he does not even if his motives are sound and pure.

Continue Reading

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Benifit of doubt....

For him to get the benefit of doubt, he would first need it. Except for the hyper-paranoid, most people have been thrilled with him from the start (before the start for some of us).

The way you framed this is a clue though to why you think he needs the benefit of the doubt. From the DP echo chamber, you might think we supporters believe that Rand is up to some secret agenda to be secretly as ultra-paranoid as the AJ fans on this site. That's not the case. He's the leading political figure of the revolution, not the leading ideological figure. That has always have been clear. His father is the ideological leader in our movement.

There's really two issues confusing this... 1. Alex 2. Jones. He sells paranoia to the logically challenged. When AJ yelled "oh noes, rand endorsed Mitt and sold out!!!' and Justin R joined in, that was all it took for the logically challenged among us to jump the shark, never to return.... that's why we're even reading your post today. Too bad.

Absolutely Not

We cannot trust any of these rats and NONE deserve our support. They all deserve our distrust and hatred. Most deserve at least 30 years prison or quick trip to the gallows. Even Ron Paul was not really in it to win (I was conned). He just enjoyed all the attention. Had I known, I would not have donated a dime to his campaign.

I have never been a "voter". However, I broke down and registered to vote for Ron Paul the 2008 and 2012 elections. It was so damned obvious that each election was an outright fraud. Personally, I will never vote again for as long as I live. I wouldn't care if Jesus Christ himself was running. Here is why:


Go ahead and down vote me. I could give a crap. We've all been conned. We're just in denial.

Here is an example of Rand Paul's true colors:


“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”― Henry David Thoreau

For now perhaps

But we should not just settle for the Rand Paul limited version of liberty if we are fortunate enough to get him elected. We should still keep pushing for the Ron Paul full version of it. Rand would just be a huge step forward toward that goal.

I take issue with this though: "We will never achieve a more free society just by getting certain politicians to say the right things and get elected and then enact their policies. The people must change the way they view government; they must change the way they view the use of collective violence to achieve their goals, rather than through free markets and reasoned persuasion."

I'm sick of seeing this extremely utopian vision of what everyone is like. Many people do not support liberty and will ALWAYS support government. That's why we should absolutely be involved in politics and pushing for as much liberty as we can actually get, regardless of if it falls short of our ideals. Because we don't live in a world of ideals we live in a world of realities.

The utopian vision

"I'm sick of seeing this extremely utopian vision of what everyone is like. Many people do not support liberty and will ALWAYS support government. That's why we should absolutely be involved in politics and pushing for as much liberty as we can actually get, regardless of if it falls short of our ideals. Because we don't live in a world of ideals we live in a world of realities."

you are correct that many people do not support liberty, but and it's true that many of those may "always" support government. But I should remind you that many of us did not have these beliefs 5 or 6 years ago before the Ron Paul campaign, and even those like me who leaned libertarian did not fully grasp a lot of things.

We will never just vote our way to freedom; THAT is the "Utopian" vision. I do however believe we can see a freer society, in many ways we already do thanks to technology, the internet. WE have more freedom to communicate than ever before. so let's use it wisely. The days of people buying pre-packaged mainstream political B.S. are numbered, and i I strongly feel it's important to be *consistent* and *principled* in the message.

That doesn't mean we can't compromise, but there are different kinds of compromise. Compromising with say, a liberal like Dennis Kucinich to try to end or prevent a war, that is good compromise that sticks with principle.

But compromising by *distorting* the message will only result in confusion, and any minor political victories will be tainted by a confused message.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I'm not on the fence about Rand, here's why.

Rand is the best we have to work with short-term. I'm not one to dissuade anyone from genuine criticism of his rhetoric, but most of the actual criticism I've seen of Rand has been border-line childish and extremely short-sighted. Murray Rothbard argued (and rightly so) that short term practicality is not a breach of principle, but an acceptance of the present political reality.

As much as you might think that we just need to hold out for someone who is as pure as the wind-driven snow, simply consider what happened with Ron Paul. He lost, and it wasn't the newsletters or the constant fear-mongering of his opponents (though that clearly didn't help), it is that America is not a libertarian country, AT ALL. Those of you who think that America ever was need to do some reading on the Whiskey Rebellion and the foreign policy of the so-called Jeffersonian crowd when it came to the Indians. Now I would have sided with the Jeffersonian crowd against the Federalists and the Whigs, but they were not ideologically pure. In fact, I would venture to guess that with this crowd's standards, neither Grover Cleveland or Thomas Jefferson would be good enough.

If you want to change this country into a libertarian country, you're probably going to either need about 6 or 7 decades to shift the culture of the country, or more likely you'll need to break the country apart via secession and concentrate your efforts in places like New Hampshire and Colorado. In the meantime, Rand Paul is the pick of the bunch. Justin Amash does not have the stature that comes with being a Senator, and we don't have any really viable governors from powerful states (sadly this excludes Gary Johnson given his lack of influence) to run either.

You're either in it to win, or you're not in, and there is nothing wrong with taking most or even some of what you want now while pushing for more down the line.

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” - G.K. Chesterton

I really enjoyed your comment

im commenting to save it for later.

i wholeheartedly agree about your point on this crowd would probably not even accept TJ or GC as president. lol

Rand Paul says a preemptive strike on Iran should be on the

table. Just how does Rand see Iran in any way as a threat to the United States, or for that matter the 51st state? If Iran launched a nuclear weapon in the future (The country doesn't now have any nuclear weapons), Iran would be instantaneously pulverized by Israel, which has a arsenal of between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons. Also note Rand's reasoning for allowing illegals to become part of the above-ground economy, so that they can be taxed!! This, in no way, is a man thinking about shrinking government. Instead of advocating a program that would tax even more people, a person concerned about ever growing government expansion would only be calling for reductions in the taxes for those already paying taxes--not advocating that more be brought into the tax system: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/02/rand-paul-preem...


I think

He is playing politics. All we can do is watch.

But this is exactly the problem

The playing politics is what muddles the message of liberty. How can I support Rand as a libertarian if I have to explain to people how sanctions which punish civilian populations is somehow a libertarian position?

I can't, and I won't.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*


I agree. I am on the fence with Rand. But some how I think how in the world could Ron's Son back stab us. It seems crazy to me but I guess it could happen. But Maybe he is fooling the Neo Cons. I mean it sounds crazy but we tend to automatically think that they are brainwashing Rand but maybe he is just messing with them. Either way, him being President really wouldn't do nothing since Congress is what is really corrupt.

if Ron Paul does not run?...Rand Paul all the way!

i think Rand Paul will be the best choice the Rnc will have to offer in 2016.

ChristianAnarchist's picture

Yes, I will #StandWithRand

Yes, I will #StandWithRand because I feel that his is doing exactly that. He's playing a game to get the neocons to support him and after (if) he's elected to the white house I feel he WILL show his Ron Paul R3volution upbringing. At least it's worth having some hope that things will change without a violent bloody revolution (because that's SURELY coming if things can't be resolved by getting someone in the white house who's willing to make DRASTIC changes)...

If I'm wrong, we will know after 2016 if we can stay afloat until then and IF we can get enough of the sheeple to vote for Rand. If it turns out that all you naysayers are right about Rand, the violence will absolutely happen (not likely I'll be involved as I'm getting older and feeling it).

I don't think all you naysayers realize that the ONLY way to get radical change is through a strong man in the head seat (of this fiction USA) or through violent revolution. If you can propose a 3rd resolution, please please please let me know...

Beware the cult of "government"...


Problem I got is how we talk about future. We have to worry about America even standing before 2016. Obama could completely destroy America before 2016. Our Dollar could crash easily before 2016. And Obama could bring us to WW3 before the election and stay in power.

I've found myself trying so

I've found myself trying so damn hard to bend over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt. But for every "good" thing he says or does, there's 3-4 literally inexcusable things he says or does. I just can't bring myself to put my name into his ranks. I won't vote for him simply because I swore off the "better of two evils" thing when I met Dr Ron Paul.

In a compromise between good and evil, only evil can prevail.

Rand Paul, unlike his heroic father, will be forgotten and disregarded by history.

As a Rand enthusiasist, I agree

Criticize him now, but support him when the time comes. thats all we ask for.

I do have the fantasy described, but thats right, we shouldnt be trying to trick the establishment but making us become the establishment.

Does he deserve our political support, you mean?

Depends on your point of view on the viability and morality of using political solutions as a means to solving the problem and achieving liberty. If you're really a bout pure libertarianism then no, rand nor any politician deserves your support. The fact that there is even a Llibertarian party seeking political power often bewilders me. The only real solution for true libertarians is education and voluntary extraction from the system. Anything more than that strays into the territory of using force to achieve your ends and out of the true philosophy of libertarianism.

But if you see political solutions as a means or catalyst to start the ball rolling in the liberty direction than yes Rand deserves your support. If you dont believe that going amongst the masses and sitting with the harlots and publicans to teach them the principles of liberty in small easily actionable ways is a bad thing than yes. If you believe getting someone in office to begin the process of dismantling the machine then yes. If you believe you need to give kids training wheels to give them enough courage to hop on a bike than yes. Rand in this case does deserve your support because this is precisely what he is doing. Going to where they are and leading them with baby steps towards liberty. Sometimes its not a straight path and there are falls and seemingly wrong turns along the way. Does that mean I think once he's in office he'll rip off his shirt and yell viva la r3volution! No. Wysiwyg with Rand. Still a pale shade of liberty. Thats fine because thats all the public can handle right now. Ron was the meat, Rand is the milk. But while many of us fish from the dock hoping the fish come to us he's out there on the open water casting wide nets and pulling in large catches and bringing them back to our shore. Rand is not the destination or the philosophy, he is the stepping stone towards it, at least for those still outside our camp.

I don't see why both approaches can't work together simultaneously. It doesnt need to be an either or deal. Educate and self extract while sending wave after wave up to Washington to take apart the machine. Why we are focusing on just one good but fallible man and not focussing on sending the next wave to support him is beyond me. He twists and turns up there because he has very little to no support and has to do what he can to even just put the brakes on things let alone set the course in the right direction. We need to send in reinforcements. You'll never get pure libertarian quality out of a politician or political solution by the very nature of it, so there's no use distilling down the field of candidates to 100% because you won't have any left after that. But if you send in quantity (even if the quality isn't so great, I.e. those like lee or Cruz) you can begin to stop and repeal back the forces of opposition to the cause of liberty. Overtime you can distill and replace the quantity with quality and really start rolling.

As far as I'm concerned hitting from every direction with any degree of libertarian purity will overwhelm the anti libertarian forces and will lead toward our freedom. I believe in WAHOR and that many different simultaneous approaches will win the day. I try not to knock others approaches much as their methods may open up opportunity for mine and vice versa. Continue to encourage persuade and teach but try not to tear down those trying to make an honest positive difference.

No I don't mean that

As I said in the comments of my article, if you believe politics is the way to go maybe Rand Paul is your guy. He's certainly better than the rest.

I mean what Jack Hunter says he means by "benefit of the doubt", which seems to mean "Though shall not criticize another libertarian or "liberty republican"

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I always thought that was a weird "commandment"

Thou shalt not criticize [your fellow republican] -Reagan

Like heck you shouldn't. What I think would be a better political commandment, if I may criticize, is "thou shalt not VILIFY your fellow [insert your friendly/identifiable/strategic collective of choice] . Criticizing is one thing, going over board and saying someone has sold out and is evil incarnate sent by [fill in the blank conspiracy] to undermine and destroy us just because they misspoke or legitimately made the wrong decision on a vote or legislation is extreme and counter productive. Criticize if necessary yes, vilify no.

I'm not sure where Jack is coming from maybe he is responding to that kind of criticism not the normal strong disagreement type. Sounds like frustration and desperation to me. Not some kind of "shut up you peons rand and I know best".

I see Michael kind of dealing with the same thing here. He receives some incredibly over the top "criticism" and outright vilification because one of their posts had some action taken against it. Sometimes he deals with it rather frustratedly and tersely. He usually recollects himself and calmly and patiently addresses the situation and poster even though the blow hard drama queen doesn't deserve it and no one would blame Michael for just doing what most cm's do and just boot the troll. I have much respect for Michael because of that. Jack not so much as of recent, perhaps he will see the errors of his approach and change his ways. Anyway great post marc, and food for thought and reflection.

More great stuff by you Marc!

I could not agree more.


Thanks much!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Nobody in politics deserves beneft of the doubt

I've seen this play out umpteen times already and I know I'm not the only one. I'm done with giving any politician the benefit of the doubt. I never gave Paul Sr. the benefit of the doubt-- nope, had to check his (very consistent) voting record. Even then, I remained skeptical (what can I say? It's a habit).

This is *not* to say I dislike Rand, just that I'll never use the "well he's the best have" or "lesser of two evils" defenses when he does something I don't like or when I think he's wrong.

I was raised to believe that if you truly respect someone, you tell them the truth, even when it may hurt them. I still go by that mindset, whether it comes to Rand/his supporters, the DP, or just people in general.

A signature used to be here!

No politician deserves the

No politician deserves the benefit of the doubt. Not even Ron Paul, and especially not his son, who still has much to prove.

Ron Paul EARNED the benefit of the doubt by sticking to his principles and being the most honest man in politics (although that isn't saying much) over a career that spanned several decades.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


Indeed Yes

Irregardless of how you want to portray Rand, he is not a "roll over". Yes indeed, I do believe he is in a "Viper Pit" and has to calculate certain moves carefully. Question, have any of you ever walked up on a 5' rattle snake, and then tried to catch him? I have, and believe me, avoiding strikes and only having a stick I had picked up to pin him down with, it wasn't easy. I caught him finally, held him for awhile (tightly) to observe him, then let him go. (I had snakes as a kid)
My point is, Rand is surrounded by vipers, never knowing when one will strike and from which direction. Much harder than facing one head on. He is doing the best he can with what he is facing. And yes, I do believe truly that Rand is our "Trojan Horse" to the White House. And yes, if he makes it to the While House, he will have to deal with the "Den of Vipers". We must support Rand all the way and some of you should quit stabbing him in the back.

Do you consider

Any criticism to be "stabbing in the back"?

If Rand Paul makes statements that are clearly not libertarian, should those statements not be challenged, even if Rand truly is "Trojan Horse"

In fact, if the Trojan Horse Theory is true, then criticism of his positions as non-libertarian should actually *help* him "trick" those neocons into voting for him, shouldn't it?

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Criticizing is one thing

And i agree it can even help put up the smoke screen and cover to, as you say, "trick" neocons into voting for him. What i find counter productive are the Knock out blows and stabs trying to knock rand down a few pegs or completely out of the running because of a few disagreements people may have with him, to the extent that they vilify him and give fodder for our enemies to shoot him down with many of us as collateral damage. I'm all for education and keeping the message pure but not at the expense of canibalizing our own and remaining as lobsters in a bucket who can't climb out because we just keep pulling each other down. Nothing is perfect in a transition. Lee way is needed, but i understand and share your concern about keeping the message pure during this time so we don't ultimately go off the rails later on pursuing a false liberty.

And yes it's a grey area where even mild criticism may be considered by some to be over the top, and over the top criticism may be considered too mild by others. Perhaps a good gauge to decide where your criticism falls in the spectrum of "good constructive criticism and vilification" would be to ask yourself, "am I criticizing to correct and educate, or am I criticizing because I can't stand the person and wish they would go away?"
One is constructive, welcome and encouraged, the other is counter productive, destructive and not appreciated. Choose wisely.

I think

I think that's a fair distinction.

When I criticize Rand in my writing, it is always in order to clarify I statement or position that I feel is either not libertarian or at least is confusing and needs clarification.

Similarly when he is right on the issue we will highlight it because he is right and taking the libertarian position.

As someone who greatly admires Dr. (Ron) Paul, of course I have no ill intention in criticizing his son and don't wish the man any ill will. But at the same time I will not be concerning myself with the Jack Hunters of the world whose only concern is getting Rand elected.

My only concern is advancing liberty. If Rand does that and gets elected because of it, great. If he *tricks* neocons into voting for him by pretending to be like them or muddying libertarian positions however, I believe this can actually be counterproductive in many ways.

I feel the "Reagan Revolution" sent the true conservative / libertarian movement back by decades.

Let's not let that happen again.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I believe you do a fair job and your intentions are genuine

By all means speak your piece. Criticism never hurt anyone. It's good for everyone involved in my opinion. I just take exception to those who just want to vilify, tear down and destroy. That performs no positive service. I don't see you doing that.

The part about muddying the waters, is a concern I share as well. It has both neocons and libertarians on edge because neither side can tell which side Rand is playing or whether he might upset or destroy what either one has been building up over the years. But the mud gives cover for Rand to move and do what he believes he needs to do in order to make any progress towards liberty. It also gives cover to those wanting to join Rand from the neocon side, or even your run of the mill regular republican type, who don't want to be seen as "extremist" or overly libertarian but like what they're hearing from Rand. Easily swallowed things. The more they get comfortable with the libertarian lite stuff, even if not completely ideologically consistent now, the more easily they'll be able to slide over to liberty as time goes by.

Politicians are like trees in a way, many can lean pretty well, but not many can pick up their roots and shuffle over to one side or the other very fast or easily. Slowly but surely they are moving as Rand continues to push and lead them towards it. You keep teaching and pulling people towards the message, Rand will keep pushing so that people can actually get close enough to hear it. Too few can hear it at the moment but that is changing for the better day by day, and I believe Rand will be an instrument in that more than he will be a detriment.

You can take that to the bank...


The American public was weary of war and voted for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

How did that work out?

Now the American public wants to reign in government power, and along comes Rand, the neo-libertarian.


We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

-C. S. Lewis

The danger of becoming what we sought to defeat.

Will we applaud, when Rand takes the reins of power and suddenly reveals himself to be a closet liberty lover? Will we cheer as he reveals to the dumbfounded GOP voter base that "The War Is Over" - I mean, the ends justifies the means, right?
Or will we realize we won the battle and lost the war, and that we have simply replaced the politicians who lied to us to gain the power of elected office, only to turn on us? Do we "win" be getting someone who lies to win votes?
I DO give Rand "the benefit of the doubt." I think he is probably a good hearted man, doing what he thinks is best. I am just not convinced that it is really what is best. When I see people "wake up" it is because they learned some important truth, not because they heard a prettier lie.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

That was brilliant, fishy.

Liberty will flourish only from the bottom up. Electing a POTUS to force our version (the only version, really) of liberty on the clueless masses is the same strategy as forcing socialism on them. They have to learn for themselves that government is not the answer to any social problem. Ron knew it, but he spent decades studying. Rand's aspirations of becoming POTUS do not seem like a wise idea in this respect. I am glad Marc expressed this in such a convincing and gentle fashion. I have been trying to say it but I am a bit rough around the edges. That is why I am here though - to practice the art of gentle teaching (not something that comes easy to me).