July 30, 2007

Blogging on Reason’s “Hit and Run,” Brian “Radicals for Capitalism” Doherty chronicles the objections of “some libertarians” to Ron Paul and his presidential campaign. Ostensibly a “defense” of Paul against the very few authentic libertarians who oppose him, Doherty’s piece winds up reiterating every kvetch and cavil against the Good Doctor while neatly distancing the author from Paul’s critics:

“Paul’s concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with “sovereignty” that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it’s the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel.

“And a yokel with some ugly things in his past that no libertarian wants to be linked with…”

Doherty lists all the various hate crimes with which Paul is charged—I dealt with them here—and then goes on to pick other nits, citing some really obscure sources (aside from Randy Barnett), and concluding with a call for libertarians to refrain from making the perfect the enemy of the good. Okay, but was it really necessary to go on at such length about Paul’s alleged crimes, especially considering the sources of the accusations?

I have to say that, whatever the contents of Doherty’s final paragraph—“Why is Ron Paul the place where making the non-existent best the enemy of the good becomes the right thing to do?”—that remark cited in The New Republic was really a low blow. What’s worse: calling Ron a “yokel,” or acting as a transmission belt for such vicious Beltway badinage? Doherty’s post gives new meaning to the phrase “hit and run.”


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