ron paul, progressives, and the rise of “situational libertarianism”
May 23, 2012
A piece written by Eric Stetson originally posted on Daily Kos. It’s important so am reposting here:
Ron Paul, Progressives, and the Rise of “Situational Libertarianism”
~ Eric Stetson
I’ve been following with interest the rise of the phenomenon of progressives for Ron Paul. I have mixed feelings about it. I can truly understand the position of those such as Glenn Greenwald who explain why Paul should logically be appealing to liberals — possibly more appealing than President Obama — yet I can also understand the view, expressed in many articles on this site in recent weeks, that Paul should be repulsive and unworthy of any degree of support from the left.
However, the claim that Ron Paul’s supporters are just a bunch of white middle class people, and that progressives of color and without a high level of economic security would not support him, is incorrect. I personally know several working class or poor people who consider themselves liberals and yet are supporting Paul in this election. I also know at least two non-white people — both of whom are Middle Eastern — who are liberal fans of Paul.
How is this possible? How could a person with a low income support a politician like Ron Paul who wants to cut or eliminate most government services? How could a person of color support a candidate who is linked to racist newsletters? Follow me below the fold for a quick analysis of the deepest underlying reason why Paul is popular among some progressives, regardless of their race or economic status, which I haven’t really heard explained anywhere else.
Okay, we’ve all heard the arguments for why liberals should at least have some sympathy towards Ron Paul: his support for ending the wars, cutting the military and decreasing the influence of the “military industrial complex” in American politics, decriminalizing marijuana and ending the “war on drugs” that’s filling America’s prisons with non-violent offenders, ending bailouts of big Wall Street banks and auditing the Federal Reserve, and restoring civil liberties that have been eroded under the Bush and Obama administrations.
What we haven’t heard much talk about is the deeper issue: the fact that many people, including many progressives, are losing faith in “good government” being a possible outcome of America’s current political system.
Here’s the thing: Progressivism or liberalism is based on the idea that government is good, and therefore should grow or remain large rather than be cut. However, the evidence increasingly is persuading many people that although in theory government may be a tool for good, in practice, in America today, it is largely not.
One of the biggest things the U.S. government is doing in recent years is attempting to police the world and conduct a vague, amorphous “war on terror.” This produces two results —
*reprinted with permission of the author