You say yes, I say no

Looks like Amit and his near miss in yesterday's primary election is the subject of some more cosmo-/paleo- libertarian bickering. The cosmos seem to take the higher ground this time; I get the feeling that Lew just had to vent his disappointment without thinking too carefully about which "side" Amit was supposed to be on.

There must be a numerical term that measures how large a social group gets before it splits into warring factions. I would have thought that with all the discussion of polycentric market solutions that libertarianism would have a much larger number. Guess not.

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Well, if anyone was going to

Well, if anyone was going to dispute the "cult of personality" charge surrounding Ron Paul, they certainly can't do so after reading Lew's post. Ron Paul is clearly unique among men, and does not suffer from what ails us lowly mortals. He, alone, is immune to the siren song of political power.

How big is the cult?

Well, no one could dispute that Lew Rockwell is trying to promote a personality cult of Ron Paul. How much of the following Paul built up in the '08 presidential campaign belongs to that cult is a completely separate question.

Lew didn't do much to promote his own personality today.

Ron Paul's influence

From the second link:

Paul's campaign catapulted guys like Singh and B.J. Lawson into politics

So if you liked that Mr. Singh ran, then you have Mr. Paul's campaign to thank in part for it.

To clarify...

Lew Rockwell's knee-jerk reaction was such that is hard to tell which side is which.

I have nothing but admiration for the achievements of Ron Paul. I feel, however (and I believe he does as well), that having a libertarian president in office in 2008 would do little to achieve a society of lasting Liberty. I believe his presidential bid was not aimed at gaining the reins of the executive branch, but was about injecting a radical vision of limited government into the current political dialog. Although he has often said as much, he has both rabid fans and detractors who can't understand any goal for him other than winning the zero-sum game of "leader of the free world".

My biggest disappointment of his campaign was learning of the bitter division between two schools of libertarian thought in America. I think this division is small-minded and completely contradictory to libertarian ideology. Libertarian ideology should reserve moral condemnation for criminal acts--initiating force or fraud--and all other aspects of human society should be at least tolerated, even if they involve choices that the libertarian does not wish to choose for himself.

Further, when the initiation of force and fraud are intertwined throughout current institutions, I find it somewhat forgivable if individuals interact with each other through those institutions. I would like to identify the systemic harm clearly, but I find it difficult to judge the individual participants too harshly. I support people like Amit Singh and Ron Paul running for political office, even though I am acutely aware of the contradictions they will have to confront in doing so.

My bewilderment and frustration in this post, and here and here and here, is that people who profess a desire for more liberty in human society are so quick to attack each other for going about it the wrong way. I am disappointed in cosmo-libertarian pieces like this and in paleo-libertarian pieces like this. Let a million flowers bloom, and be grateful for any soil where liberty can take root.

Small enough to bash

But the other libertarians are the only group minuscule enough to feel it when we kick them in the nuts.

But I agree. We should all set aside our differences and move forward together. Except for the cosmo scum.


That's all I can say about Lew Rockwell's comment.