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Rand Paul Is Hurting Libertarianism More Than Helping It

I was reading and participating in a recent discussion on “libertarian qualifiers” wherein "Lions of Liberty" Editor Marc Clair had encountered a man who described himself as a “Libertarian-Democrat,” stating that he hated the drug laws. Then, immediately afterwards, he distanced himself from the “libertarian” part by backtracking and saying mainly he was a Democrat.

This led me to notice a trend that I have seen time and time again – namely that the phrase “libertarian” is widely looked down upon in broader politics, and anyone with libertarian leanings who happens to run with the two party crowd makes an extreme effort to seclude themselves from being identified with libertarian thought, even while admitting their fondness for it.

Why is this? The primary reason (in my opinion) is because talking heads in the ill-informed and two-party-biased media like to label people and concepts as “libertarian” when they are not, and typically when they do use the term libertarian, it is always in conjunction with a negative act.

For instance, the Tea Party was often positioned as libertarian during it’s brutally unfair coverage in the mainstream media, wherein they were decried as racists, sexists, and everything else, despite this not factually being the case. Naturally, they also were not libertarian for the most part, but in the main were a fiscally conservative party that happened to have certain principles that were lifted from libertarian thought. But if you ask the man on the street, 7 of 10 times you will hear that the Tea Party is libertarian, and he will say it with a negative connotation. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what libertarianism is, its impact on society and who or what is actually libertarian.

Rand Paul is also not a libertarian. He himself has admitted this (though it’s been blatantly obvious to those of us keeping track of his words and actions). However, most of the population has been told he is a libertarian, due to the media tagging him as such, his relation to Ron Paul and his once-in-a-while libertarian politics. For example, his filibustering on drone attacks against U.S. citizens was libertarian. What he said and did after that? Not so much.

Rand took a stand against us arming the Taliban in Syria – libertarian. And against selling arms to Egypt – libertarian. Of course, Rand also says that we have to support Israel at all costs and that an attack on Israel is an attack on the U.S. – that’s NEOCON. Not to mention his support of sanctions on Iran. Continue Reading

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Did you read the whole rticle?

Because I do list multiple things - his backtracking on domestic drone use by law enforcement, his support of sanctions against Iran, his neoconservative approach to any attack on Israel, his stance on police powers, foreign bases, etc. Check this article out for a good read: http://lionsofliberty.com/2013/04/29/does-rand-paul-deserve-...

The point isn't that there are worse people in the Senate than Rand Paul..why if you want one, just look at his best new friend, Mitch McConnell! The fact that there are worse people doesn't excuse the fact that Rand has discarded many of the libertarian principles in lieu of adopting mainstream GOP positions. And because he is still viewed and described as a libertarian by the media and in the understanding of the general populace, that damages REAL libertarians.

Your argument sounds like that hackneyed old phrase Obama supporters used to cry whenever the President was criticized for his many misdeeds - "He's better than Bush!" Two wrongs (or 99) don't make a right.

Denise B's picture

I have said all along

that I think Rand is walking a line which he has no choice but to walk if he wants a real shot at the presidency, and there is a difference between a statement of position and actually violating your oath of office. I will ask you again, at what point did Rand violate his oath of office? Which bill did he support or vote for that violates his oath of office? If you can show me a clear incidence where he, as a Senator, overstepped his Constitutional authority or voted for something which the Constitution doesn't authorize, then I will gladly get on the "Rand Bashing Wagon".

What so many here don't seem to understand is that we are dealing with a dumbed down population, 40% of which don't even know that Obamacare is a law that they will be required to abide by. You can not win the presidency without appealing to these people on some level. It simply will not happen. So if you are okay with either Chris Christie, or Mark Rubio or Hillary Clinton getting the next 8 years in the white house, then by all means, keep bashing Rand because that is exactly what you will get. You may not like Rand's strategy and the fact that he has chosen not to be as straightforward as his dad on certain issues, but the truth is he will not and can not win the white house parroting what his father did. It simply will not happen. And the simple truth about Rand is that the vast majority of what he says and does, does in fact help our movement. I will take the time in another post to list all of the things that Rand Paul has done to help the cause of liberty and I have not yet seen him once vote for something that violates his oath of office, and in the end that is what matters. I don't care nearly as much about what he says (which I do agree with most of the time anyway) as what he does. I know what he's up against, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because there is no other liberty candidate out there that has the potential of gaining the white house like Rand Paul does and I can guarantee you that anyone other than him (or his father) will be the president who puts the final nails in the coffin of this once great Republic. And don't even mention Gary Johnson to me because his track record is far, far worse than anything you can say about Rand. Rand has never voted against the Constitution, not one time and that is good enough for me considering what the outcome of anyone other than him will be.


"What so many here don't seem to understand is that we are dealing with a dumbed down population, 40% of which don't even know that Obamacare is a law that they will be required to abide by. You can not win the presidency without appealing to these people on some level. It simply will not happen"

So you think the path to a more free society is to trick people into voting for Rand Paul?

We cannot force people to believe in freedom and liberty. We must *convince* them and *communicate the ideas clearly and concisely*. Rand is muddying those ideas.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I'll give you one

He violated his oath of office when he voted for UNCONSTITUTIONAL act of war in the form of sanctions.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Denise B's picture


Please cite the section and clause of the Constitution which Rand violated when he voted for sanctions against Iran.

That's good cause Rand Paul

That's good cause Rand Paul is a Republican.

small l

the "libertarian" being referred to here is "small l" i.e. the *philosophy* of liberty, not petty partisan political labels.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Rand Paul has redefined

Rand Paul has redefined "Libertarian". I wonder what we'll call it?

I like rand Paul 90%

But the reason I would never vote for him for president is immigration. If we become a true libertarian society we could afford an open immigration policy because lazy socialists from other countries would never come here, but right now we are letting the other side import re-enforcement's faster than we can convert new recruits. Our policies have to be ordered in a logical sequence. Our enemies understand this concept well, for instance first they make the collective responsible for your health care then it logically follows that if the collective is responsible for your health care then they get to have a say in your lifestyle. I will be willing to consider immigration arguments once we dismantle the option of the immigrants voting themselves more government benefits.

Please give a reason for down votes

I truly see you guys as peers and am genuinely interested in why you disagree with me

I'll give you a reason..

for my upvote that is. I agree completely!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Rand should drop the libertarian part

Libertarians are globalists who don't give a crap about the Republic.

i've noticed he uses it

when convenient, but of course that's what politicians do.

Agree with the title of your reply

...and then you went and lost yer flippin' mind

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Yes, he should

I too tire of half ass libertarians who are only interested in using a label to sail with popular political currents.

Libertarian __________ (insert term) ... get the hell out of here. The term libertarian is not an adjective or some other descriptive qualifier which is meant to precede a noun referring to some other political ideology.

Libertarian conservative? What the hell is that? Don't shit on the libertarian brand in an effort to hijack it. Libertarianism is a political ideology centered upon a consistent application of the non-aggression principle not arbitrarily arguing it when it is a political benefit and throwing it out the window when it isn't.

Libertarian republican? Give me a damn break. If there are wolves in sheep clothing it is surely people who can't precisely define what they believe in and feel a need to combine multiple labels with different meanings.

Rand, libertarians do not advocate state intervention and conservatives do advocate some state interventions. Rand must think people are stupid in that we can't plainly see he doesn't even know what the hell he believes in. Apparently he believes in some state interventions for conservative values but not others. He is either a half ass conservative or a half ass libertarian in either case being without the courage to develop and articulate a consistent set of beliefs.

If you like using the state to coerce others for some reasons don't be a sissy about it and hide behind a libertarian label. Proudly put those beliefs on display and boast about intervening in peoples lives using state force.

In this one instance, I agree with Granger. Conservative statists don't need to be using the label libertarian.

At least Ron has the ingenuity to come up with his own label of non-interventionalist.

Good points

We had a lively discussion going on the "qualifiers" the other day.


*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*


The only thing related to Rand Paul that is purely libertarian is his father.


Apple has rolled pretty far from the tree...