In Defense of Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment which specifies that our elected officials are subject to the same laws that rule us plebeians. How could a libertarian — or, really, anybody — possibly object to that?

John Glaser has managed to do it, I’m afraid.

Glaser says “The government is constantly breaking the law and taking actions that are clearly illegal for ordinary citizens to take.” Well, uh, yes — that’s precisely what the amendment aims to end.

Glaser goes through a long and tiresome litany of how the system of unequal treatment before the law benefits the politically connected — apparently without realizing that he’s undermining his own case. Which is odd.

What Glaser is really arguing, however, is that it would be impossible to put an end to this system: apparently,  according to the Glaserite view, it makes no sense to try to limit the  power and privileges of government officials. Passage of the amendment will only be “symbolic,” he avers.

Really? Why is that necessarily so? Glaser doesn’t say.

And even if the amendment isn’t enforced, the process of having it encoded in law would in itself score a victory for liberty. The reason is because it highlights the libertarian class analysis of society: that is, it dramatizes the privileged status of the political class — and  the subjection of the rest of us.

Glaser’s blithe dismissal of Sen. Paul “throwing red meat to his libertarian and  Tea Party populist followers” is, frankly, weird: isn’t it about time somebody threw us libertarians some red meat? For years politicians have been throwing red meat to warmongers, Prohibitionists, professional busybodies, free-lunchers, and you-name-it: isn’t it our turn? Isn’t this the Libertarian Moment? Or don’t we get to have a Moment?

Glaser’s holier-than-thou approach to Paul’s admirable effort is baffling: what’s wrong with putting on a “political show,” anyway? Are we trying to convince people and win them to our cause, or must we be content to sit on the sidelines writing clever little blog posts and sniffing disdainfully at any constructive effort to effect real social change?

Far from being sneered at, Sen. Paul should be commended and supported — and it’s really kind of appalling that I have to point this out.

18 thoughts on “In Defense of Rand Paul”

  1. Justin,

    You and Scott Horton are awesome- so please listen to the freakin repeat after his show every day- he tears apart Rand deservedly so.

    It comes down to Rand wants the libertarians, ron paul and huckabee/sanitorium vote. He's not going to get it. Some of it- but newsflash

    We are past voting now. Ron was the last. Electoral politics is over. Now it is about denying the state power over us until we are free. No more paying taxes, no more consent, no more compliance, no more frns, no more recognition of state authority whatsoever- they are just a criminal gang with as much legitimacy as the crips or the bloods.

  2. Justin is right on the money here.
    The imperial elite fears nothing more than a repeat of the Ron Paul primary run in 2012. They will do all they can to stop Rand in his tracks. And part of that is to undermine Rand in his own ideological back yard.

  3. From the Washington Post and dated 6/7/2012 –
    "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, throwing his weight behind the presumptive GOP nominee even as his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), has yet to fully terminate his White House bid."
    Rand Paul, man of the people?

  4. Gandhi was once asked to defend his position which was basically full blown Anarchy against charges of being utopian. I'll paraphrase his answer.

    Even if India isn't ready for Anarchy and even if it never will be we need to know what we want and what is right before we can get anything approaching it.

    Libertarians should learn this less. We are accused constantly of being utopian and guess what? They are right! Our ideals are often utopian but so what? We know what is right and working towards what is right is worth the effort because it moves us in the right direction.

    Is Rand as "right" as Ron? Nope but he is more pragmatic and might actually be more likely to make those baby steps in the right direction. Utopians are going to call him a sell out but realists understand that he is more effective because he is willing to compromise. The goal should be to move the movement forward, not stomp your feet and stand still because you can't get everything you want right now.

    Ron is THE Man to help educate the masses, Rand is the man we have right now who is actually in power and in a position to make changes. Tossing him out because he is imperfect is like tossing out Libertarianism because you can't get 100% of it implemented.

    1. "Libertarians should learn this less. We are accused constantly of being utopian and guess what? They are right!"

      Speak for yourself. It's not utopian in the least. It's just the best system in existence.

      "Tossing him out because he is imperfect is like tossing out Libertarianism because you can't get 100% of it implemented."

      Sorry. Not going to vote for someone who voted for the sanction on Iran, an act of war. He's NOT a libertarian.

      1. Do you really want me to argue against you on this? Well fine it is utopian and there is no System today that is Libertarian. It's not going to happen either. Government and pure Libertarianism will never exist because GOVERNMENT IS THE USE OF FORCE. About the only thing that Libertarians agree on is NAP. The Non-Aggression Principle. Well guess what? Government is Aggression. You will never have one without the other. So it's utopian. That doesn't mean that you should know what you want and work towards it. That is worth doing. Stomping your feet like a petulant child and saying it's my way or the highway isn't going to get any of us anywhere.

        As for your vote, go ahead and vote for whoever you want, but there is only one person in Washington that is moving the Libertarian movement forward. So support him or get nothing done and your utopian goals will stay where they are, just in the realm of ideas.

        1. "…but there is only one person in Washington that is moving the Libertarian movement forward."

          It's not the steps forward, large or small, that libertarians criticizing Rand Paul are complaining about. It's the steps backward, such as voting for sanctions on Iran, that has us up in arms. It's OK to compromise on amount of change. It is immoral to compromise on direction. A "compromise" between filet Mignon and poop is still rather disgusting.

  5. Justin is right on the money here. I'm curious as to why all the smart people above assume that you can't be a utopian libertarian AND support what Rand Paul is doing. If you've ever tried to accomplish anything relating to politics, then you know that multiple strategies are best.

    I study Irish history for a living. Although Daniel O'Connell worked inside the system, seeking constitutional reform for Irish Catholics, he also held "monster meetings" with upwards of 800,000 people gathering in one spot. This implicit threat had an effect that worked synergistically with his political reforms. After getting Catholics the vote (baby step 1), he immediately started pushing for Repeal of Union (which would have given Catholics effective control of their country). At roughly the same time, the Young Irelanders, a small group of utopian radicals, tried to stage a rebellion. It failed miserably for a number of reasons, but it was the wide range of opposition movements and tactics that moved Ireland closer to independence. Relying on the purest, most radical tactics alone, would have gotten nowhere.

    Ditto with the IRA/Sinn Fein. Either one alone would have been less effective than the two working together. (Whether Irish Republicans have won or lost with the power-sharing agreement is an open question, but they would have had far less influence if they had used only the Bullet OR the Ballot Box.)

  6. Rand is a Muslim hating bigot & authoritarian who has a deal with The Empire to sucker you people in while he gains power from it.

    A war on Christianity? Did you hear that speech? I’m sounding the apocalyptic genocidal alarm bell. You all were warned.

    (And yes, his war crime sanctions on Iran deny medicines to children. But Muslim children. Is there anything more pragmatic in the Imperial American political system?)

  7. Constitutional amendment? No way. Rand is cynically grandstanding, an epidemic in Washington DC.

    If we do pass a constitutional amendment, I hope it's for something major, like amendments giving congress practical kick-ass powers to prevent the supreme court from legislating and the president from starting wars.

    1. The U.S. Government is so lawless, so off-the-rails, so royally fucked up, that I question whether anything can restore it. Keep nullification and secession in mind. . . .

      1. When the dollar dies, so will Washington……… Every state will be thinking of their own people…. and sending squat to those traitors of "We the People"

  8. Justin sidestepped John's strongest point, that the constitution already applies the same laws to the government as it does to the people, but the rule is ineffective because it's not followed.

    Would adding a new amendment that restates something that's already in the constitution help? Maybe, yeah. Like a very official reaffirmation of the constitution. I would hope it would bring the point into the public consciousness, and lead to prosecutions for people who have acted unconstitutionally.

    That would be a very long list. Today it's a pipe dream, but something we should certainly work towards.

  9. So Glaser says that the passage of the law would only be symbolic? Is he telling us that the Constitution and the rule of law has already been overthrown?

  10. Getting a politically-relevant Constitutional Amendment passed in these days is a pipe dream. Besides the fact that this has already been delineated in the Constitution, getting 75% of the state legislatures to go along is a fool's task since a passage would undoubtedly instigate similar laws downstream, say in state legislatures, how likely are state legislators going to cut off their own "perks" of being electeds. Even though the common citizen would approve of the Amendment, those who serve in the state legislatures seldom seriously act on what is desired by the people.

    But, that's just this old Curmudgeon's opinion…

  11. Abdelmonem al-Said is the head of the militia that kidnapped Libya’s prime minister last month. He proudly stands by his role in the abduction and defiantly announces in press conferences how not scared he is of retribution or punishment, because the government is too weak, Crisp reports.

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