August 14, 2015

Ron Paul Endorses Rand: Initial Thoughts

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

There was a small bit of chatter about whether Ron Paul would endorse Rand Paul officially, or just kind of stand out of the way and not take shots at him whenever a disagreement came up (and on one of the biggest issues of this election cycle, the Iran deal, they are at opposite ends of the pole).  But according to Nick Gillespie, Ron Paul is publishing a letter today in which he endorses Rand for President:

There is not one candidate who has run for president in my lifetime who can say they fully share my commitment to liberty, Austrian economics, small government, and following the Constitution, [more] than my son, Rand Paul.

That’s why I have wholeheartedly endorsed him.

Ron Paul also admits some disagreements between them, which I think is good, and typical of Ron.  It makes it clear that Ron Paul will always stick to principle and not blur the disagreements where they are important.  Ron:

Even where Rand and I do have minor differences of opinion, I would take Rand’s position over any of his opponents’ in both parties every time….

This is essentially the position that Walter Block took in his small informal debate with Scott Horton on today’s Tom Woods Show podcast.  Walter stated that the libertarian should endorse any candidate who is the least bad, who will not grow the state as much as the other options, who will not get this economy or foreign policy into the same amount of problems as anyone else.  Understand: this is not the same as arguing that this candidate is a positive good or will actually shrink the state. It just means that the libertarian should prefer less bad to more bad.

Scott Horton took the opposite position, arguing that Rand Paul was pursuing the exact opposite position on foreign policy as the libertarian non-interventionist view. Rather than getting out of foreign lands and shutting down the empire (Ron Paul’s view), Rand is arguing that we declare war on ISIS and press hard against a deal with Iran (on the deal, see my piece here).  So Scott points out that whether or not Rand is less bad than the others, this still does not mean he is worthy of libertarian support. Scott also readily admits that Rand is closer to libertarian positions than the others; but this of course does not make him “one of us.”

Brian and I have been talking about our own view on strategy, whether Rand should be supported or not.  We were, in today’s podcast (forthcoming), a little hard on Rand’s positions up on the stage, especially in regards to war.  He needs to actually take a stand before we can “Stand with Rand.”

"Hey so are you sure people will accept me if I oppose the wars in the Middle East?"
“Hey so are you sure people will accept me if I oppose the wars in the Middle East?”

We want to support him, we really do. But we will just have to stay patient for now. We will expand on our views in the future, perhaps in a podcast; perhaps in a small written “pro-and-con” series (if we end up taking opposite positions).  I think my own view as of now on voting for the lesser to two evils (this does not mean I have completely made up my mind on Rand– because I haven’t and probably won’t for some time) is slightly different from both Walter and Scott.  It is here.

As for Ron endorsing his son, I think it was somewhat to be expected. I hope two things: 1) that Rand would gather together more courage to be against US wars and more courage to stand against everything pushed by the US Government (including Ron’s stance on Ending the Federal Reserve). He is fantastic on the NSA and the PATRIOT Act and so forth.  Let him be more libertarian across the board!; and 2) that Ron would not compromise in the coming months about being honest about where he and Rand disagree. I hope, even though he endorsed him, if he ever sees his son taking a clearly wrong position on something (like Snowden or Guantanamo Bay or ISIS or Iran or the need for a sales tax to replace the income tax) that Ron would call him out.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com