Politics as a Measure of Public Opinion

I take an interest in politics, especially national politics.  It is a little ironic in that I consider myself anti-political.  I believe that the way forward for liberty does not lie in politics.

If politics is at all useful to libertarians, it should be for only two things.  One is to use it as a platform to educate others, just as Ron Paul has done.

Second, if you want to get into politics and have any effect, it should be done at a local level.  You will have a greater impact if you can have one at all.

Yet here I am interested in national politics.  I am far from being the only hardcore libertarian to feel this way.  I see it as something of a game, even though lives are at stake.

It is also good to know what is going on, not just because I sometimes write about it, but also because I know that other people are paying attention and want to talk about it.  I know that most people who pay attention will have someone they favor, but it is still an opening to have a general discussion about the role of government and the fact that just about everything it does is based on force or the threat of force.

There is also something else that political races, especially for the presidency, give us.  They give us a little bit of a hint about public opinion and what the climate is.

While Ron Paul didn’t have much of a chance to get the Republican nomination in 2008 or 2012, it was still very encouraging from a libertarian point of view.  Most libertarians could not have imagined in early 2007 what would happen with the fundraising and the overall enthusiasm.  He ended up receiving in the ballpark of 2 million votes in 2012, and this was in the Republican primaries/ caucuses.

Some anti-liberty people in the media are saying that libertarianism is dead now because Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls.  I don’t know if these people really mean it or if they are just being demagogues.  But I don’t believe this at all.  The reason is that Rand Paul is not a libertarian, therefore, he is not receiving the support of most libertarians.

On the other hand, I have heard a few libertarians say that Ron Paul might have a chance at the nomination this coming year if he were running again.  I don’t believe that either, as there are still too many war hawks in the Republican Party.  I do believe he would probably improve even more over the last campaign cycle.

The Republican race has been interesting this year.  It is mostly because of Donald Trump.  He is the entertainment.  Rand Paul has been a dud.  I wonder if Paul will regret this campaign later in life.  He could have chosen a path more like his father and left something of a legacy.  His only legacy here is a failed campaign.  He didn’t convert anyone to be a libertarian.

In the Republican race, there are three “outsiders”.  They are not exactly outsiders, but they haven’t held political office before.  Between Trump, Carson, and Fiorina, they have over 50% of the support in the polls.  I can’t stand Fiorina and her desire for more war, but it is still interesting.

Meanwhile, the establishment candidates are doing terrible.  Jeb Bush has spent a load of money and he can’t get to 10% in most polls. Scott Walker was so bad that he dropped out of the race.

This tells you that Americans, at least within the Republican Party, are not happy with the status quo.  They are tired of the establishment, even within the party.  I believe the middle class is struggling a lot and that is a major reason for turning away from the establishment candidates.

Donald Trump’s positions in most areas are terrible, but I think he may be a decent guy.  It is hard to know for sure.  His supporters obviously don’t care that he is rich, or they may even see it as a benefit.  I think they also like the fact that he is blunt.  He is not politically correct, which I believe a majority of Americans are tired of.  They are tired of being afraid to say something that is deemed un-PC.

I’m not sure what to say about the Democratic race.  They are all a bunch of hacks except for Jim Webb.  It’s not to say that I like the Republicans, but at least they don’t talk as if the whole American populace is completely stupid.

The Democratic candidates are in a competition to see who can give away the most free goodies through the use of government force.  Webb is the only one who acknowledges that there is any cost to it.

And the political correctness and the sucking up is just beyond ridiculous.  When a bunch of people are afraid to utter the phrase “all lives matter”, you know we have reached a point of insanity.

It is mildly encouraging that Hillary Clinton is not completely coasting to the nomination.  Bernie Sanders is terrible in most areas, but at least he is a little bit decent when it comes to foreign policy.  I just have to tell myself that the Democrats only make up about a third of the voting population, so it isn’t all bad, especially if some of them do go to Jim Webb.

Unfortunately, most of the Republicans are still very pro war, but that has gotten a little better.  At least Trump has come out with some less militaristic proposals.

Overall, I see great dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Most Americans are not happy with the government.  The problem is that most still cannot quite figure out what the problem is.  They certainly can’t articulate it.

In this sense, I really wish Ron Paul were on the debate stage again to straighten everyone out.  He would be the voice of reason.  He would be educating millions of more people.

This is why our work is so important as libertarians.  We have to spread our message in a coherent way.  It doesn’t mean arguing with people, but gently pushing them in our direction.

There is great discontent out there if the polls are any indication.  It is something that libertarians can continue to tap into.  Technology is on our side and our numbers have grown greatly over the last 8 years.

Libertarianism is far from dead.  It is rising.  There are just no libertarians in the presidential race to show this.

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