I am, at least as of the time that I am writing this post, a registered Republican. Truthfully however, at this point that is only because of the ridiculous ballot access laws and Ohio Senate Bill 193. I am not currently a member of the Libertarian Party, nor do I have any sort of affiliation with any member of the Libertarian Party.
Recently I have seen an article by a former legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul, that was posted at the Ron Paul Institute make the rounds on libertarian leaning social media sites. The title of the piece, “Libertarian Party Chairman Denounces Ron Paul’s Support for States’ Rights” caused an eruption in comments across Facebook.
The article was loosely about an interview that Nicholas Sarwark, the current chairman of the Libertarian Party had on a Lions of Liberty podcast recently. I say “ loosely” because the entire basis of the article was a completely taken out-of-context piece that used one line out of a forty minute long interview.
I even saw a liberty minded Facebook friend of mine re-post the article with the comment “Looks like the Libertarian Party is being destroyed by socialists.” I can understand given the title of the posting at the RPI how a liberty minded individual might get upset , I mean denouncing Ron Paul and for supporting States Rights of all things.
The thing is, if you listened to the actual Lions of Liberty podcast, you would see that at no point did Nicholas Sarwark ‘denounce’ Ron Paul or Ron Paul’s support for States Rights.
But hey, let’s not allow things like facts to get in the way, no one can speak ill of muh Ron Paul.
The Ron Paul discussion in the podcast started at about 25:30 minutes into the interview and came after a discussion about the Gary Johnson campaign and how Bill Weld displeased many hardcore libertarians. Sarwark himself admitted that many of the things that Bill Weld said during the campaign were not things that he would have said, or things that he necessary agreed with. His point was however, in growing the Libertarian Party as a viable third option — do you want a pure ideological person standing on a soapbox speaking to ten people or do you want a slightly less pure person with a giant microphone who is able to reach millions?
Mark Clair, the host of the podcast, responded by saying that he thought a lot of ideologically libertarian leaning people got spoiled by Ron Paul and his manner of speaking libertarian ideas. Clair, then went on to say that “…we still have to look at Ron Paul and what his… success was, I mean he floundered out of the Republican Primary.” Clair followed up with talking about how the bigger thing to look at Ron Paul was at how many people he turned on to the idea of liberty, partly because of his ‘ideologically pure’ libertarian message. Moving forward Clair wondered how do liberty minded people turn on more people to the liberty message as not everyone can be Murray Rothbard.
Sarwark, in talking about Ron Paul, commented that you ‘run a very dangerous line’ if you get too caught up with any one personality, be it in politics or any other aspect of life.
His point was that there is no one true pure as fresh snow ideological libertarian and everyone is capable of being wrong on some things. He had mentioned how he had spoken to Ron Paul supporters who if you were to mention an issue that Ron Paul was not a pure libertarian on they would twist themselves up into pretzels while trying to say otherwise because “Ron Paul could do no wrong.”
Sarwark also pointed out that the strength of libertarianism is that the principle doesn’t care who the messenger is. It is either a libertarian position or its not, no one is perfect and its okay to not be pure and it is also okay to be able to call out the things of libertarians that are not really libertarian positions.
Sarwark was particularly talking on same-sex marriage, citing Ron Paul whom for a long time said that it should be up to the States. His point was that “States rights” do not trump individual rights or civil liberties.
Clair, even agreed mentioning how you see people get caught up in personalities, such as opposing something, but then supporting it because Obama does or opposing something but then supporting it because Trump does. Then saying that he agrees with about 95% of what Ron Paul says but “heaven forbid” you mention that other 5% and then the name calling ensues.
That is exactly what happened with the reaction after the article was posted on the RPI website.
Nicholas Sarwark did not “denounce” anyone and “the socialists” are not taking over the Libertarian Party.
I swear libertarians are more often then not, their own worst enemy.
Also, in regards to the whole “States Rights” issue, the 10th Amendment provides that the “powers” not delegated to the Federal Government are reserved to the States and/or the people.
States don’t have rights, we the people do.
Nicholas Sarwark, rightfully stated that you can’t use “States Rights” to allow government to take away individual rights based on gender, race or [in this case] sexual orientation.
The 10th Amendment does not provide for allowing the States the “right” to trump the natural individual rights of American citizens.