STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Paul Family Dynasty Ends Before It Began?
By Staff News & Analysis - September 30, 2010

Rand Paul (left) has declared, from the start, that he's the "tea party" candidate, and yet [Bill] Kristol's Weekly Standard has been viscerally hostile to the tea partiers from the very beginning, because anti-populism is a key plank in the neoconservative platform, unless – of course – it's anti-Muslim populism. The very phrase "big government conservatism," which the tea partiers justifiably detest, was invented by the Weekly Standard, along with the fiscally imprudent variety of "national greatness conservatism" Kristol and Co. have been peddling for years. Why, if he's riding the wave of tea party activism, is Rand forging an alliance with their worst enemies? He's way ahead in the polls. He doesn't need Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard, he doesn't need the neocons – who aren't known to exist in any great numbers in Kentucky – and he doesn't need AIPAC either. In short, there was no good reason for him to run after and appease his father's nemeses. So why did he do it? You can ask him, but I'll save you the trouble. Rand Paul has no principles: he'll do or say anything to get into that Senate seat – yes, even give up his faith in Aqua Buddha. Or his loyalty to whatever values he once pretended to hold. He'd even betray his own father – and, indeed, he has done precisely that, giving Kristol's gremlin-bloggers a choice opportunity to once again mock the elder Paul. – AntiWar.com

Dominant Social Theme: Rand Paul is a wild-eyed libertarian.

Free-Market Analysis: Except he's not. We've written three articles on Rand Paul. The first one celebrated his coming of age as a Senatorial candidate with much the same anti-war, pro-freedom views as his celebrated father, the libertarian congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX). The second article, Rand Paul Disappoints, was a good deal more skeptical about the younger Paul's free-market credentials. The third article, Rand Paul's Anti-Libertarian Fence, was more skeptical still. We were reluctantly changing our mind about him as we received additional "inputs."

The mainstream media continued to flog the usual sub dominant social theme of Rand Paul "free-market thinker, racist and capitalist," but we were beginning to think the libertarian threat was greatly exaggerated. Yes, we were coming to a different conclusion about his candidacy. It was disconcerting because we couldn't find anything in the literature. He was Ron Paul's son after all, so the libertarian community itself was giving him a pass, from what we could tell. But our discomfort with his candidacy has never subsided and has only grown over time.

And now comes the legendary Justin Raimondo, founder of antiwar.com, good friend of Murray Rothbard, one of the pillars of the "hard," Misesian libertarian community, to corroborate our suspicions. You can see an excerpt from his article above at the beginning of this analysis. It is entitled "The Hollow Man: Rand Paul's Father Complex," and it pulls no punches. He compares Rand Paul to George W Bush and makes the point that in pandering to the neo-con America-as-empire crowd, Rand Paul is dissipating his moral authority even without any necessity to do so. Here's some more from the article:

The great danger is that the election of Rand Paul to the US Senate will change the ideological complexion of libertarianism, as it is perceived by the public, and quite possibly succeed in derailing the ongoing work of his father and the Campaign for Liberty in challenging the neocons' hegemony in the GOP when it comes to foreign policy. The recent release of the House GOP caucus "Pledge to America," which repeats this same neocon litany of endless war and extravagant "defense" expenditures, shows that this fight is far from over – and Rand Paul is on the wrong side.

This could certainly be seen as a danger and Raimondo summarizes cogently. From our point of view it's also something of a family tragedy. To have had a father-son team on Capitol Hill, one in the Senate and one in the House, firmly focused on free-market and anti-empire, anti-war issues, would have been an amazing turnaround. It doesn't sound like much, but two principled people in high office can make a big difference. Ron Paul has provided a catalyst for a sea-change in the American sociopolitical environment, one that is possibly unstoppable. His son could have added to the momentum. But alas apparently it is not to be. Here is what we have written about him previously:

If one runs on a platform that is both pro-war and pro-drug war, it doesn't seem to us that very much is left of a bully pulpit from a free-market standpoint (assuming that was what Rand Paul was originally after). Rand Paul is doing what he needs to do to win an election but in the process he may be switching off a vast constituency of quasi-libertarians types (growing all the time) who would have given him truly national support. Of course, it is entirely possible that Rand Paul believes in the various positions he espouses; in fact it would be cynical to impute anything else. But that makes his run all the odder as, given the nature of many of his positions, he sounds in a sense no different than a lot of other conservative Republicans.

You can see the article here: Rand Paul's Anti-Libertarian Fence.

In a sense, we were still trying to give him the benefit of the doubt back in June, (and feedbackers kept pointing out to us that his positions were being twisted by the mainstream media). But even when we visited his website, we didn't see the kind of libertarian clarity that his father espouses. There is something muddy about Rand Paul's perspectives, something less-than-convincing.

Having talked to him numerous times, ourselves, we were puzzled by it because he was an integral part of his father's presidential run. But Raimondo has come to the same conclusion. Rand Paul wants the Senate seat more than he wants to speak out on behalf of freedom. OK. Too bad. Life goes on.

Right now the freedom-movement in the US and abroad is still inchoate and tends to use mainstream sociopolitical methodologies to demand the end of Western empire. It probably won't work. Eventually, in our view, people will grown disenchanted with the system and seek extracurricular methodologies. After a few experiences with the Rand Pauls and Scott Browns of the world, people will begin to see perhaps that they must focus on more direct action. We are not proposing this sort of action will be violent, only that it will be different and more persuasive than what has come before.

After Thoughts

Seen from this perspective, the freedom movement in both the US and Europe is an evolutionary enterprise. We like to compare what is going on now to the Renaissance or Reformation, which would not have been derailed by a single individual, or even two or three. What is going on seems to be a massive socio-political shift away from the regulatory democracy that the power elite has patiently been building up these past 200 years, From our point of view, the elite conspiracy is unraveling. Rand Paul may win his Senate seat, but in the process he may be choosing the wrong side.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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