[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]
So Barr disses Paul, and Paul responds by endorsing Baldwin. (Conical hat tip to Jesse Walker.)
On the one hand, this is more evidence of the strategically suicidal nature of the Barr campaign. (Which of course is fine by me: “It falls, it decays; who would preserve it? But I – I even want to push it!”) Surely Ron Paul’s support, or at least non-opposition, would have been an asset to Barr (he’s aware that Ron Paul has a bit of a following, yes?), and he could easily have avoided pissing off Paul and the Paulistas the way he did.
But on the other hand, Paul’s support for someone who says stuff like this doesn’t exactly do much to allay my concerns about Paul.
Nearly everything exciting and interesting about this election cycle has been disappointing for libertarians. I am so upset with Ron Paul. Chuck Baldwin is INSANE. And well, I hear that its not so much Barr that is the asshole, but his campaign people. But even if he’s not an asshole, he’s an idiot to have let them make these decisions. So Barr is one of the following:
A) A big asshole
B) A huge idiot
As for Paul, at the beginning of all this I was at 2.5 cheers. After the New Hampshire ads, I went down to 2 cheers. When he decided to stick with the GOP, 1.5 cheers. And now that he’s endorsed the, again, INSANE Chuck Baldwin, he’s down to 1 cheer.
I am sad, Roderick. Please, grant me your peace. Tell me why the libertarian movement isn’t as completely stupid politically as I think it is. Or at least tell me WHY the libertarian movement has been so completely stupid politically and then help me to figure out how it can be fixed.
My own sense is that Paul’s age and Lew’s emphases in the 90s have kept the ‘John Birch Society’ wing of 20th century libertarianism alive too long. Paul came of age in a time when there were so few libertarians that the ratio of STARK RAVING LUNATICS interested in libertarianism to sensible people interested in libertarianism was nearly 1:1. As a result, many of the old guard are obsessed with bizarre causes and John Birch Society conspiracy theories that have translated over into the Paul-people (See: 9-11 truthers, North American Union, etc.) One of the things that kept people loyal to libertarianism/classical liberalism in the mid-20th century was a kind of paranoia that Paul, if not himself a part of, tolerates in his friends. That was one of the reasons the Paul movement came off as so nutty. And in fact lots of older folks into hard-right conservatism and its libertarian wing have the same personality dispositions.
Second, Lew et al. were led into Paleoism by Rothbard before he died (if only he’d lived long enough to lead them out of it! A post 2001 Rothbard would have been a New New Leftists, I’m sure.) The Buchanan fiasco was not quite enough. This perpetuates an odd connection to nutty paleoism, to conspiracy theories, to an odd reverence for the ‘old republic’ and so on. LRC and the Austro-libertarians generally have had a great deal of trouble getting a movement going because they have had a lot of trouble *looking forward* rather than, say, fighting Rothbard’s old personal battles. Developing research programs and ideological nuance hasn’t been their forte.
Of course, its *your* forte, but at LvMi, you’re the sweet (if a little strange, with all that lefty business) cousin they have over from time to time.
Anyway, as a result, the Paul movement was mostly reverence for the man rather than a detailed attempt to develop policy programs, political strategy and so on and made stupid political calls (like running anti-immigration ads in New Hampshire. WTF!). And Agorists, you can agree with me that if you’re going to be political, its possible to be more effective than the Paul people were.
With Barr and Paul’s horrible moves, the Paul movement is basically a mess. I think now it is hard to see how it will survive beyond 2010 or 2012. In the end, the death of Paleolibertarianism of the Paul variety will be a good thing (although don’t lump me in with all the lefties here, I’m still holding out for something more culturally milquetoast), it still disappoints me.
Come Roderick, let us here your anatomy of a failed anti-statist movement. You needn’t call it dead, but speculating on the roots of the failure would be of great value. We need to start looking inward and wonder what went wrong, not just contingently but due to the current libertarian movement’s character and emphases.
Isn’t this also evidence of the strategically suicidal nature of the Paul campaign?
It seems like Barr had good reason to diss Paul; Paul favored endorsing third party candidates in general over endorsing Barr in particular. Why shouldn’t Barr return the favor and snub Paul?
I see all this libertarian infighting as a good thing. Until the paleo-douchebags, conspiracy theorists, bigots, and other kooks are written out of the movement, William F. Buckley style, and relegated to the dustbin of history, libertarianism deserves to fail, good and hard.
This has be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on this blog, or anywhere regarding anything related to libertarianism: I say that as an anarchist and a “homosexualist”. I hope to God that some of the better Paulistas (and I have no doubt there are many of them) have the good sense to realize when the water’s being boiled and get out now.
Between this and the LP’s transformation to GOP-lite, I don’t think it would be arrogant to assume that left-libertarians are best equipped to help them out. Radgeek’s outreach tools came just in time.
Shall we start discussing some strategies for reaching out to the better elements of the Paulista population?
In the long run, Paul’s endorsement of Baldwin could be good for the LP. If it drives out the more GOP-lite types to the CP, then the LP can more easily get back on track as a true libertarian party. That is, if the LNC doesn’t screw it up.
Maybe the incessant need to politik around and abandon your principles for the purpose of pandering to the lowest common denominator, or whatever cracked out group of bigots and Birchers finds a reason to support you at the moment, in an effort to achieve the critical mass needed before you can accomplish anything, is inherent to any movement that attempts to realize itself through established electoral channels, and that the best way to avoid this a second time around is simply not to start down that same path twice.