Rand Paul: Political Performance Artist, Or Action Hero?

Economy,Government,libertarianism,Liberty,Paleolibertarianism,Political Economy,Political Philosophy,Ron Paul,The State

The purist in me recoils at Sen. Rand Paul’s latest political performance art. As Glenn Beck reports, the senator from Kentucky “took the $500,000 in savings he had from running a frugal, cost-efficient office and returned it to the treasury.”

“Hey, Senator Paul, wait a minute. You know better,” I want to shout. “That money you’ve returned to Treasury in a grand gesture doesn’t belong there, it belongs to taxpayers. Why stuff stolen goods down the maw of the federal beast, into which scarce resources only ever disappear without trace, and where everything is fungible? Rand’s $500,000 could be directed into the domestic drone program. See what I’m saying? The principles absolutist in me rejects many of Rand’s gestures. On the other hand, what American doesn’t like an action hero?! I like Rand Paul’s energy.

The question: Is this Randian energy or Brownian Motion?

Rand Paul is front-and-center in media, showing what some people like to call “leadership,” a contemptible phrase, I know. The libertarian Paul is a pragmatist, whereas his father, Ron Paul, is an idealist.

So far, I’ve been critical of Rand’s compromises, but perhaps he deserves more support? After all, have I not condemned the sin of abstraction we libertarians tend to commit, writing against the libertarian “specimen that has nothing to say about policy and politics for fear of compromising precious libertarian purity”?

Suspended as he is in the arid arena of pure thought, this species of libertarian will settle for nothing other than the immediate and absolute application and acceptance of the non-aggression axiomatic ideal. And since utopia will never be upon us, he opts to live in perpetual sin: THE SIN OF ABSTRACTION.

Ambition no doubt has a lot to do with Rand Paul’s positions, but, boy, is he a doer. The question is, is he doing the right things?

Here’s Paul putting in a good performance over the sequester nonsense:

PAUL …for goodness sakes, it was [Obama’s] proposal. He proposed the sequester. It was his idea. He signed it into law, and now he’s going to tell us that, oh, it’s all our fault?
I voted against the sequester because I didn’t think it was enough. The sequester cuts the rate of growth of the spending, but the sequester doesn’t even really begin to cut spending, which we have to do or we are going to get a credit downgrade, another credit downgrade.
BLITZER: So you don’t think that the $85 billion this year, that would be the forced cuts this year, from your perspective, that’s not enough?
PAUL: It’s a pittance. I mean, it’s a slowdown in the rate of growth. There are no real cuts happening over 10 years.
Over 10 years, the budget will still grow $7 trillion to $8 trillion. He added $6 trillion to the debt in his first term. He’s on course to add another $4 trillion to $6 trillion in his second term. So, really, this is just really nibbling at the edges, and he’s saying, oh, it’s some dramatic thing where all of a sudden it’s still the rich’s fault.
Didn’t he already raise taxes on the rich? I’m having trouble even understanding what he’s talking about because he sets up this rhetoric and this sort of game of let’s go get the rich again that really is divorced from any reality. It’s his sequester we’re talking about, his bill.


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