Here’s Keith Halderman, supposedly replying to an argument by Roderick Long, to the effect that short-term success for the Ron Paul campaign might come at the cost of damage to the longer-term prospects for a fully free society:
Your argument that the Paul candidacy works against a libertarian society is ridiculous. Fourteen hundred meet-up groups with over 80,000 members being exposed to libertarian ideas, many for the first time, say so.
Yep. Let’s all measure the inputs to the allocation process, rather than the outputs. Judging from the inputs, we are on track to exceed liberty production quotas by 75%. Long live Chairman Ron’s Great Libertarian Electoral Revolution!
About a month ago, I criticized an article by David Gordon that criticized left libertarians who criticized Ron Paul. David Gordon later criticized my criticism of the criticism of the criticism; I posted a rejoinder; and Gordon posted a reply to the rejoinder. Meanwhile, Keith Halderman and I had a go-around about my views on libertarian feminism. Just in case that’s not enough dialog for you yet, Roderick has two long and very thoughtful posts at Austro-Athenian Empire, To Paul or Not To Paul, Part 2 and To Paul or Not To Paul, Part 3, about the exchange between me and Gordon in particular, and about libertarian electioneering in general. Be sure to read through the comments sections as well, for rejoinders from David Gordon.
I don’t have much to add beyond what Roderick has already said. One quick clarification about the use of terms, though. In comments, Roderick says:
I’m willing to grant that Ron Paul counts as a libertarian. (I think Charles denies this on the grounds that Paul subordinates liberty to constitutionalism, but I’m happy to grant the label.)
I have argued before that the positions expressed by Ron Paul in his campaign are constitutionalist rather than libertarian. Whether I would call Ron Paul a libertarian or not depends on what is meant by the term. There’s a broad, cluster-concept sort of sense in which Ron Paul could be called a
libertarian, and, on some issues, a fairly hard-core libertarian at that. That is, he would fall pretty far towards that corner of the Nolan Chart if you mapped out where he stands on various questions of policy. There’s another sense of libertarianism, which has to do with the ideological reasons that underlie those policy positions — that is to say, a radically individualist theory of justice and political legitimacy, which happens to be incompatible with constitutionalism or any theory that subordinates moral claims for liberty and justice to legalistic proceduralism. To the extent that Ron Paul has been willing to sacrifice libertarian policies for the sake of non-libertarian or anti-libertarian goals, such as a fundamentalist reading of the U.S. Constitution or the so-called
rule of law, he must be operating on some theory of political justice other than libertarianism, and so is (in the ideological sense) a Constitutionalist, or a decentralist conservative, or whatever, and not a libertarian. So how happy I am to grant the label depends on how the label is being used in a particular case. There are some reasons, both of temperament and of deliberate rhetorical choice, why I tend to talk about libertarianism in the ideological sense more than I tend to talk about it in the Nolan Chart sense, but I’m certainly happy to grant that Ron Paul has at least as good a claim (often a better claim) to the term
libertarian as most of the Libertarian Party, or many of the paradigm cases of
libertarians in the mainstream public consciousness.
Hope this helps.
A couple of weeks ago, I criticized an article by David Gordon that criticized left libertarians who criticized Ron Paul. (David Gordon later criticized my criticism of the criticism of the criticism; I posted a rejoinder; and Gordon posted a reply to the rejoinder.) Along the way in my first remarks, I mentioned (by way of an example) my views on libertarianism and anti-statist radical feminism:
I don’t think that libertarianism should besubordinated to certain cultural values such as radical feminism.I believe that libertarianism, rightly understood, is both compatible with and mutually reinforcing with the cultural values of radical feminism, rightly understood. (For a more detailed explanation of the different kinds of links that there may be between libertarianism and radical feminism, see my reply to Jan Narveson onthicklibertarianism.) The independent merit of radical feminism is one reason to support libertarianism as a political project (because opposing the patriarchal State is of value on feminist grounds), but that’s never been the sole reason or the primary reason I have suggested for being a libertarian. The primary reason to be a libertarian is that the libertarian theory of individual rights is true. From the standpoint of justice, the benefits that a stateless society offers for radical feminism are gravy.
The views I was briefly referring to here are views that I already expressed in much greater detail in an essay on libertarian feminism that I co-authored with Roderick Long, which was linked from the same post. Over at Liberty & Power, Keith Halderman picked up on the shorter version of my remarks on radical feminism and lodged objections. You can see how it goes from there in the comment section; I complained that his post indulges in a ridiculous cheap shot, that it falsely attributes a view to radical feminists that as far as I know none of them actually held or hold, that it falls into some vulgar libertarian confusion between free market principles and defending the socioeconomic arrangements that actually exist in our unfree market, and that libertarians perhaps oughtn’t get so worked up about the dreadful menace that angry feminists pose to the safety of men’s penises.
Halderman then responded to my complaints with what I think amounts to more confusion, along the way
questioning [my] commitment to limited government. As well he should, I suppose; but his suspicious glances are pointed in the wrong political direction, and based on a clear misreading of my comments. For replies, see my first and second follow-up comments.