In the Feb. 27 edition of the Hamilton JournalNews, David Harsanyi wrote an article lambasting Republican Congressmen Ron Paul (“Ron Paul is not the solution to any problem, real or imagined”). Libertarianism — little “l” libertarianism so as to differentiate from the Libertarian Party — isn’t about one man. The movement is about the ideas of limited government — not that faux rhetoric we hear from Republicans and about allowing people to live in a free society as a free people.
Nor should libertarians’ goals be to assimilate within the Republican Party. The Republican Party and, specifically, conservatists do not stand aligned with the ideals of libertarians. Unfortunately, that leaves the libertarians with little option. Often libertarians, out of necessity, dress up in Republican clothing because the two-party system leaves no other recourse.
Nonetheless, corrections of a few of Harsanyi’s claims are worth mentioning. First, the claim that Ron Paul is an “isolationist” is erroneous. Libertarians and Ron Paul alike favor non-interventionism. This is to be distinguished from isolationism in that non-interventionism still purports to trade with the world and promote diplomacy.
Second, to elaborate even further on an earlier point, libertarians do not seek leaders. If Ron Paul had won the presidential election in 2008 and became president of the United States, he wouldn’t be our leader. We do not need leaders. We just need someone willing to get out of the way.
Finally, the claim that “ending the Fed” isn’t a serious policy proposition is also fraught with idiocy. Certainly, given the political climate and the domination of big-government mentalities, it is something that would take a very long and arduous time to end. However, that said, big government itself did not arrive on America’s doorstep overnight. So to suggest wanting detrimental policies to abate is not a serious political goal seems nonsensical at best.
Ultimately, David Harsanyi is right about one thing. Libertarians do have “genuine ideas.” Despite polls suggesting many Americans would classify themselves as “libertarians,” the predominant conventional wisdom still persists in that: government must help us. As long as that thought reigns supreme within the political arena, our genuine ideas will never see the light of day, even if bellowed by Republicans riding our intellectual coattails.