Well, in my little corner of the world it looks like election season is here. It’s true that the actual Presidential election is over 550 days away but that isn’t what is important. The important thing is that Rand Paul is announcing his intent to run for President. This provides my libertarian friends the opportunity to pass on a cultish devotion from father to son. Of course, libertarians aren’t the only ones who do this, just ask a member of the GOP about Bush or Reagan, or a member of the Democratic party about Obama or Hillary Clinton. Personality trumps action in national elections.
My lack of support for Rand Paul is blasphemy in some circles. He has been held up as some last, best chance to turn the country in the “correct” direction…. whatever the hell that means. The truth is, even if I agreed with Paul on everything (which I don’t) or even if I trusted him to keep the government out of the areas I disagree with him on (which I don’t) one person as President trying to change the course of the country is like one guy on the Titanic paddling against the engine.
If Paul is elected it could be a very negative thing for libertarians. He will have a hostile congress on both sides of the aisle. Anything bad that happens will be seen as a failure of libertarianism (even though that is way too simplistic in all cases). The few areas where he could make some positive changes, like the drug war, the momentum is already there for success. By time 2016 rolls around there will be a dozen or more states with recreational marijuana legalized and most states will have it decriminilized and/or medicinal use legalized. It would be political suicide for any candidate to stand against that wave and I’m willing to bet most plausible candidates in 2016 will vocally support states making the decision on marijuana themselves. Marriage is another issue that really won’t be an issue in the election (except maybe to rile up the religions right). The courts will have decided by then and there won’t be anything a President can do about it.
So no, I won’t be voting for Paul. I don’t see the Presidential elections as any real value. It is a dog and pony show, and for most people in this country their vote doesn’t even matter on a national scale. If I vote it will be only for local candidates and propositions that expand freedom. I only hope I can make it through the next 18 months or so without unfriending half the people I know on Facebook.