I like where Rand Paul is taking the national imagination. Clapper sharing a cell with Ed Snowden, discussing liberty! Ending the war on drugs and even more astounding – proposing that justice be blind, and applied equally to rich and poor, white and black, politically connected and political outcast? Allowing an Act to sunset as the Congress “intended”? This guy is a freaking radical!
As libertarians, AnCaps, Rothbardians, Menckenites, Lysander-lovers and whatever else we are, we should be exceptionally pleased with what is coming in the next 18 months or so. Towards that end, it might be helpful to lay down a few ground rules in our endless discussion and critiques, of all things political, and specifically of all things Rand.
We could see as many 15 Republicans running in the primaries! Given the two party national setup created by the Holy Constitution, it could really be a wild west shootout leading to the GOP convention – and what a convention it will be!
The hairy will line up against the hoary, Old Testament thumpers and zombie apocalypse predictors will align and realign against Constitution worshippers and the ragged liberty wing of the GOP. Candidates include racist autarchs, non-racist autarchs, Neo-Progressives, Neo-Conservatives, bureaucrats, crooks, liars, and pseudo populists. Then there is Rand Paul. Stuck in the GOP because he opposes collectivism, hated by the GOP because he opposes collectivism, fascinating to the rest of us because he opposes collectivism, and an extremely dangerous man in Washington because he opposes collectivism. Predictably, because he opposes collectivism, he stands mostly alone in DC, and voterland sees him simultaneously as a liberal conservative, a conservative liberal, an out-of-touch populist, a patriotic un-American, and idiotic genius.
Leading up to the GOP convention, the odd statements, retractions, clarifications, and pile-ons by the candidates in their political slugfest will become delightful truffles for the rooting hogs we become as we seek to become involved in “the direction of our country.” The Republicans alone will be delicious, but with Bernie Sanders chiding Hillary, and potentially pulling every old Naderite still in the party plus the whole of the social justice antiwar element, well, it’s going to be just wonderful!
I have yet to become aware of what the third parties will offer candidate-wise, but it is increasingly apparent that what we think of as “the two major parties” are nothing of the kind. A party must have structural discipline, a creed of sorts, and a semblance of consistency of its candidates to that creed. Neither major party stands for anything, and Katie Perry once roared about what that leads to.
Without a party creed, code, or spine, the Republican baker’s dozen will be disciplined by the campaign itself. This discipline will be cat-o-nine-tails style – by pundits, other candidates, cynics, wisecrackers, meme-makers, and the odd viral video or federal crime. It will be non-stop entertainment!
But back to Rand Paul. Because it really does come back to Rand Paul, early, often and always. He is driving the train, pushing the train and riding on the train, all at once. The RNC, the old guard and the crony collectivists in both parties are asking, “Who gave him permission to do that?” The media is asking “How does he do that?” But the question we should be asking is, “For how long can he do that, and how can I help?”
Towards that end, I’ll propose some guidelines, that if followed exactly as I have described, to the letter, 100% of the time, will absolutely and instantly calm the Internets, and bring a glowing perpetual peace to the blogosphere. I personally guarantee it.
First, if Rand Paul says something about putting someone in jail (like Ed Snowden) for a few years, he is just being moderate. Obama, his party, and the Republicans have been demanding Ed’s head on a platter, his body on a pike, his nuts in a vise, and his scalp on a mantel for a few years now. That said, I do think being forced to spend any time in a cell with retired General Clapper is cruel and unusual punishment, as such would violate the Constitution, and I would be against it.
Second, when Rand Paul likens the ACA (aka Obamacare) and the presumed right to health care as leading to doctors in irons, he does frighten people with the concept of 21st century slavery. But we libertarians are well-qualified to calm the waters, and take the heat off Rand by reminding people that at least forcing doctors to give us health care is a waaaaaaaay more socially useful kind of slavery than say, having the government force somebody to bake a wedding cake against their will, pay their unskilled employees more then they produce, create millions of college graduates who have to live with their parents and work nights at Pizza Hut to try and pay down their stifling student loan debt, and print fiat money to support the warfare welfare state at the expense of human liberty and prosperity everywhere. Right?
Third, if you hear that Rand Paul likes somebody, or endorses someone, or was nice to someone in the political world, instead of going off the deep end like some kind of ISIS wannabe, couldn’t we instead just call him a lying hypocritical bastard and let it go? I mean, he is a politician, isn’t he? Poly and tick, many bloodsuckers, seriously, he’s probably just after food and everybody’s gotta eat. What are we, monsters? I think not!
I could go on, but you get the picture. Rand Paul is our era’s political Janus – a face for every angle, looking back, looking forward, and more than that, every other candidate in every party wants to be him, even as they fear and loathe everything he stands for. Hillary started talking about police reform for the first time this week, after Rand’s work on that subject over the six months. As soon as the GOP pack figures out where Rand is on immigration (THE most important issue EVER) they will know what to they are supposed to say. I imagine the Libertarian and the Green candidate will both echo something Rand has said or written, and then accuse him of trying to out-green and out-freedom them.
I don’t know if elections matter, and a democracy of the dimwitted and damned right is never pretty picture. I don’t know if the deep state has nefarious plans for Rand, or whether the Janus act is real, faked or just a private illusion. But I do believe politics should be both dangerous and fun. Towards this end, I stand with Rand!
Karen Kwiatkowski is a fellow political activist and commentator in addition to being a farmer, a professor, and a retired Air Force Colonel. In 2012, she challenged the Republican establishment by running for the House of Representatives in Virginia’s 6th district. Presently, she serves at the leader of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County.