All or Nothing?

Rand Paul said, “I’m not a Libertarian.”
Rand Paul said, “I’m a Libertarian Republican.”
Rand Paul said, “I’m a Constitutional Conservative.”

He said all these things on May 10, 2013 at a luncheon with several evangelical pastors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He made it rather clear he wasn’t a Libertarian when he advised he was not in favor of ending the Drug War, that he was more in favor of a “Virtuous Society” with people practicing “Self Restraint.” Damn. Doesn’t it seem we, Ron Paul fans, got suckered by the Son? Doesn’t first glance suggest the Filibuster was a stunt? Maybe.

Rand Paul hasn’t quite practiced small government all the time. He voted in favor of sanctions against Iran. And he said that 900 US military bases worldwide was a lot but made it clear, he wouldn’t make reducing foreign intervention a priority. Regarding marriage, Senator Paul advised he thinks it’s a mistake to support a federal ban on gay marriage because they are going to “lose” that debate right now. So he’s not in favor of gay marriage. He just doesn’t think it’s a winning battle right now. Finally, the ultimate insult, was that for the 2012 presidential election, he cast his lot for Mitt Romney. NOT for his own father, who is very Libertarian.

All the offenses listed above could confirm what we Libertarians have been saying for years. That Republicans always campaign like Libertarians but end up governing like Democrats. All, except the elder Paul. But Rand Paul did filibuster until Attorney General Holder confirmed, in writing, that the President does not have the authority to kill non-combative Americans on American soil with armed drones. He is also in favor of term limits, reductions in taxation and in favor of gun rights (right to self-defense). And despite recently telling his evangelical audience that they’d lose the battle right now on gay marriage, in an earlier interview, he advised that despite being in favor of traditional One Man/One Woman marriage, he would rather the federal government remain neutral on the subject as it’s a subject more for the States. This is very Libertarian: I tolerate your life choices and; in turn, you tolerate mine.

So what are we to make of him? It’s clear and he knows it, he’s not a Libertarian. But it’s also clear but doesn’t know it, he’s not a Constitutional Conservative. The Drug War, the vast foreign meddling, those are very non-Constitutional policies. Perhaps he’s using the term as a buzz word, an ear catcher to the Tea Party that supported him from the beginning. He is, at best, correct that he’s a Libertarian Republican. Senator Paul cherry picks from both platforms. I suspect as the 2016 presidential election approaches, we’ll hear Senator Paul continue to use the words, “Libertarian”, “Republican”, “Constitution” and “Conservative”. Consider Rand Paul a connection-point between four political views. Like the one corner that the States Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico share, Rand Paul sits right there as the thread holding said political views together.

Some of my colleagues in the Libertarian Party are cautioning it’s members from supporting Senator Paul. They argue, a half-assed (small L) libertarian isn’t worth our vote. We should only vote for candidates that support the complete return to the limits of the Constitution. We should only support Libertarian candidates who run from the Libertarian Platform under the LP Banner. But I say, let’s think about that.

By the 2016 presidential election, I will have put in twenty-years of campaigning (directly and indirectly) for the Libertarian Party. And despite my efforts and the extraordinary efforts of members better qualified and dedicated than myself, we’re still clocking in at around 1% of the presidential vote. There are reasons for this. Check out the link and come back to this post. It appears we’ve been so far away from freedom, we don’t know how to get back. Maybe instead of an All or Nothing philosophy, we need to take steps. And saying this, even entertaining it gently, makes me cringe. But I’m ready to try something different.

I’ll say it again, we are so far away from the simplicity of a Constitutional government, even gradual, small steps are gratifying. It’s working for drugs. Medical marijuana is popular and States are passing favorable laws more often. Washington and Colorado voted in favor of legalization of small amounts of marijuana, having nothing to do with medicinal purposes. As people see the sky isn’t falling, more legalization will occur. The end of illegal plants is coming to an end. Isn’t this considered a victory?

In my home state, Michigan, riders of motorcycles were recently allowed to decide for themselves if they wanted to wear helmets. Instead of government mandates, the rider is now allowed to make his/her own safety decisions. That step, once the sky doesn’t fall, could lead to relaxed mandatory seat belts and air bags. Yes?

An All or Nothing stance may never get us where we want to be. I hesitated several times writing those words. Forever and a day, until today, I was an All or Nothing Libertarian. But it isn’t working. A candidate like Rand Paul is still worthy. Much better than, say, a John McCain. Some Libertarian is better than No Libertarian. Right now, I think Rand Paul is our best bridge. It took a Nirvana to bridge Metal and Punk fans.

Harry Browne once took a question on his radio show where the questioner wondered if we could even remove the Post Office from the Constitution now that we have private delivery companies like FedEx and UPS. Mr. Browne advised that we were so far away from the Constitution we needed to get back to at least the Constitution before we hacked further. This, is sound to me.

Right now, as much as I want ALL of the Libertarian Platform, a candidate like Rand Paul could be our medical marijuana. He’s worth continuing to support and look at. I say support and look at. If he falls further from the Tree of Liberty, then by all means, let’s dump him. But right now, I think he deserves a continued admiration for not giving in everywhere.

A final thought on All or Nothing. Ask a cancer patient (me) if chemotherapy and radiation reduction of a tumor is better than waiting for a complete cure. They won’t complain if the tumor is still there. But they’ll dance and sing when the bloated bastard shrinks.

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