Too many libertarians pounced on the promise of having a libertarian candidate for president. Hence, Rep. Ron Paul generated significant support from libertarians last year. He still receives many kudos. Unfortunately, Ron Paul is not a libertarian. The few labeling him as such harms us all. Yesterday Andrew Sullivan linked to a story about Rep. Paul with this introduction:
Even libertarians get their pork:
Rep. Ron Paul vehemently denounced the $410 billion catch-all spending bill approved last week by the House of Representatives.
But although the libertarian-leaning Republican from Lake Jackson cast a vote against the massive spending measure, his fingerprints were on some of the earmarks that helped inflate its cost.
Paul played a role in obtaining 22 earmarks worth $96.1 million, which led the Houston congressional delegation, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of more than 8,500 congressionally mandated projects inserted into the bill. His earmarks included repair projects to the Galveston Seawall damaged by Hurricane Ike and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
Rep. Paul is touted as Dr. No because he votes against what he believes to be beyond the legitimate powers of the federal government. That would earn my endorsement, except he behaves without principles. Yes, that money is going to be spent somewhere else if Rep. Paul doesn’t request it for his district. That does not mean he has to request it. He requests it, repeatedly, because he figures it might as well go to his district. His actions legitimize the illegitimate expansion of the federal government. He harms the credibility of libertarianism as a political philosophy.
This reminds me of something I posted early last year when the Ron Paul newsletter mess was in the news. It’s a quote from Wirkman Virkkala:It is an odd thing, trying to be a civilized person in the libertarian movement — or in modern society. You have to keep some independence of mind. You cannot allow yourself to become part of any cult. For all the leaders will betray you. All the prophets will prove false. All the gems will prove brummagem.
As libertarians do we really need to keep repeating this lesson? Shouldn’t we understand this by now?
More from the Houston Chronicle article:
Earmarks, said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, “allow lawmakers to have a say in how taxpayer dollars (are) spent.” His nine earmarks included $712,500 to mitigate airport noise at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“It is in the best interest of the taxpayers,” Poe said, “to have their member of Congress secure funding for local projects than to leave it up to unaccountable and un-elected bureaucrats in Washington.”
It is in the best interest of the taxpayers to have them make their own funding decisions for projects they endorse and deem necessary. Don’t act pious because you redistributed my money rather than a bureaucrat. Taking my money and giving it to someone else is still taking my money. Why should I pay to repair the Galveston Seawall, which is more than 1,400 miles from my home?