The Totalitarian Moment

Well ain’t that a kick in the head?

Going into the Iowa caucus, it was starting to look like Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s libertarian moment was going to happen in a big way. Ron Paul was actually leading in some polls. But now that the results are in, I’m starting to lose all hope.

It’s not just that Mitt Romney beat Ron Paul. That’s really not so bad. Romney is a big-time professional politician who is, shall we say, adept at molding his image to the voters’ desires. He’s been the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination for months. If he wins the Presidency, I fully expect him to be an Obama-of-the-right whose single overriding goal as President is to win another term as President. I won’t be voting for him, but I can understand that he appeals to voters.

No, what really hurts is that Ron Paul came in third behind that freedom-hating fuck Rick Santorum. I mean, watch this video, where he spends three minutes pretty much denouncing all human freedom. Near the end, he literally says the “pursuit of happiness” is harming America.

Santorum’s nephew John Garver explains it pretty well:

If you want another big-government politician who supports the status quo to run our country, you should vote for my uncle, Rick Santorum. America is based on a strong belief in individual liberty. My uncle’s interventionist policies, both domestic and foreign, stem from his irrational fear of freedom not working.

It is not the government’s job to dictate to individuals how they must live. The Constitution was designed to protect individual liberty. My Uncle Rick cannot fathom a society in which people cooperate and work with each other freely.

Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who spends any time talking about making us more free. Given his baggage, I can understand why people might not vote for him, but it makes me a little insane that so many people voted for a guy like Rick Santorum who hates and fears our freedom.

About Mark:
Mark is a computer programmer, website builder, photographer, and sometimes journalist in Chicago, where he also writes the long-running Windypundit blog.
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  1. Paul W
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    People vote for statists like Santorum because a disturbingly large proportion of Americans are statists at heart. People talk a good game about freedom, but when confronted with other people using that freedom to make choices they don’t agree with, not so much.

  2. Miranda
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I like so much of what Paul has to say. If only he wasn’t anti-choice, pro-DOMA and pro-DADT (among other things).

    • Thatch85
      Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Paul changed his mind on DADT and voted to repeal in 2010.

      • Sancho
        Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, he changes his mind and principles with astonishing ease.

        It’s not binary. Americans can choose not to vote for extremists of any sort, whether it’s Santorum or Paul.

        • Windy
          Posted January 6, 2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink

          He does NOT “change his mind and principles with astonishing ease”, he has held his principles for a very long time, longer than any other politician I can think of, he has only changed his mind on two things, the death penalty (because it falls too heavily on blacks and also because DNA evidence has proven so many to be imprisoned wrongly because they are innocent, both of which are extremely god reasons) and DADT/DOMA (also for very good reasons, he values freedom for EVERYONE and doesn’t think the federal government should be involved in those kinds of personal decisions.

  3. Ian
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I disagree with a lot of Paul, but because he has a name and is by far the best thing to happen to presidential level libertarianism in my lifetime, I have to support him in this race. He has no chance to win, but his voice is a critical one in this debate and in shaping the future, if not the present, of the Republican party.

  4. Posted January 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Meh, this is the same caucusing that picked Huckabee. They pick corn, not presidents.

    A shitty little state obsessed with other people’s genitalia is not going to run this country.

  5. Posted January 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Santorum’s success in Iowa is disappointing, sure, but isn’t “I’m starting to lose all hope” a bit over-dramatic? As Phelps pointed out, Iowa ≠ the United States. Santorum is a turd who, despite his Huckabee-like flare-up yesterday, will never mean squat in the scheme of things. Neither Paul nor Santorum will make it all the way to the White House, but at the end of the race, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Paul’s run will have been much more influential than that of the fundie assclown whose flavor-du-jour status is already fading today. (Three scatological references to Santorum are enough to fulfill my daily quota, right?)

    Matt Welch’s postmortem of the Iowa caucus was pretty good, I thought — not a mere rally-the-troops morale booster but something a bit more thoughtful: “Seven reasons why those cheering on the Texas Republican should still feel optimistic.”

  6. PhiloKGB
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian; I don’t know how this meme got started. Paul is a states-rights conservative. He’s vehemently opposed to the federal government doing much of anything, but I get the distinct impression that he wouldn’t have a problem with Texas establishing Baptist Christianity as the state religion, instituting the death penalty for abortion and drug possession, banning the teaching of evolution and climate science, etc. After all, if, as Paul apparently wishes, the 14th Amendment were repealed or judicially undermined, there would be no federal oversight for state application of the rights set forth in the other amendments. All that’s left would be to elect enough anti-freedom legislators to repeal inconvenient bits of state constitutions (and justices to look the other way, figuratively speaking), and we might have the Christian taliban living a border’s width from Sodom under the aegis of a single nation.

    • Pajamas
      Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. Ron Paul doesn’t have a problem with tyranny as long as it is tyranny from the state and not the federal government. Doesn’t sound to liberty loving to me. I’ll stick with Gary Johnson.

  7. Posted January 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    “Over-dramatic”? Me?

    Sigh. With Ron Paul doing so well in the polls, I was kind of secretly hoping he’d actually win in Iowa. He’s the only major candidate who takes our freedoms even halfway seriously, and it would be a sign that other people care about freedom too. I was prepared, however, from long experience, for him to lose to well-packaged product like Romney. What I was not so prepared for is him losing to a freedom-hater like Santorum. It’s like a big “fuck you and your freedom” from the people of Iowa.

    • Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      I know where you’re coming from. Disappointment over the Iowa success of that fundie fuck is appropriate & understandable.

      There are still plenty of upsides though — not to Santorum’s near-win, but to the fact that he won’t have a lasting influence on this race. Meanwhile, Paul is making a difference in popularizing an alternative to the wretched political status quo — perhaps even to such an extent that the idea of a successful Gary Johnson run in 2016 won’t seem completely unfeasible.

  8. Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    PhiloKGB, I agree with you about Ron Paul’s flaws. He’s not my ideal libertarian candidate, but he’s a heck of a lot closer than any other Republican running, and he’d be a step in the right direction. He’s also the public face of libertarianism for most people. The way things are in this country right now, I’d prefer to try to make the libertarian movement as broad as possible. (Of course, it doesn’t help that some of Ron Paul’s supporters engage in the same sort of purity test, as if the future of this country will be decided by a debate between the Reason Foundation and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.) I think any kind of victory for Paul will help increase the freedom.

    • PhiloKGB
      Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      While I’d love to be out from under the hopeless morass that is the federal drug war, and I bemoan the hair-trigger interventionism that characterized W. Bush’s (and, to some extent, Obama’s) military policies, I don’t subscribe to the notion of some nebulous category called “freedom” that ineluctably rises and falls in proportion to the amount of stuff the federal government does. Even so, I have serious doubts about Paul’s ability to single-handedly dismantle a multi-billion-dollar industry, and his ideas about pulling all US troops from overseas bases are ill-informed at best (Hint: We have treaties with most of those nations requiring troop presences).
      I know the states-rights arguments, and I know that some states would install more progressive social values if given the chance. I just think the whole “move to the state that shares your values” talk is a platitude from a different era when packing up and joining the wagon train was a relatively simple endeavor. I don’t think it’s so easy anymore.

      • cobaco
        Posted January 5, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

        [quote] I don’t subscribe to the notion of some nebulous category called “freedom” that ineluctably rises and falls in proportion to the amount of stuff the federal government does.[/quote]

        centralisation necessarily diminishes freedom: if the decision is made centrally, that is now 1 decision you no longer can (legally) make for yourself.

        • PhiloKGB
          Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          The things a central government does are not always decisions, in the sense that you seem to mean, yet can impact individual freedom nonetheless. The federal government could, for instance, end the drug war and prevent states from individually recriminalizing drugs; this would involve active steps and yet would inarguably increase freedom. Ron Paul’s passive plan would increase freedom only in those states that decided to follow the federal government’s lead.

  9. MM8
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry that libertarian (and Constitutional) ideals forced Newt Gingrich to get divorced… TWICE!!!

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