The Ron Paul Devolution

This is perhaps a bit late and irrelevant at this point, but I’m still somewhat puzzled by the fact that a lot of intelligent people were so passionate about Ron Paul’s campaign. Libertarianism has always seemed to me a very reductionist political platform that willfully ignores the fabricated nature of the free-contracting individual and the necessity for something like social welfare. Paul might have riled up enough people to follow him by insisting on his anti-war stance and the need to keep America out of foreign affairs, but do any of them stop to think about the implications that his policies can have on domestic life? As one of the most conservative members of congress, he proposes that we deconstruct and privatize most federal agencies, end restrictions on gun control, tighten borders, and abolish the federal income tax. Sure, the last one means that the government can use people’s money to fund unjust wars and unnecessary expenses, but it is also what provides services such as the police.

Do the constitutional freedoms promised by Paul compensate for the privatization of most government functions and the turning over of peoples’ fates to the market’s invisible hand? The libertarian’s main concern is with procedure, not outcome. In an ideal situation the market will level the playing field and ensure that everyone will have an equal opportunity to make the best for themselves by free exchange. In reality the positions of minorities and the disadvantaged are already so precarious that it isn’t likely they will be able to compete, right from the beginning of the implementation of Paul’s envisioned reforms.

Paul may be right in that our current government is oversaturated, corrupt, and largely ineffective. But that does not discredit the role it has to play in disinterestedly ensuring a safety net for all citizens, something that can’t be entrusted to the whims and caprice of private individuals in that role.

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