Open Letter to Dr. Ron Paul
Revised June 11, 2012
Originally posted June 8, 2012
Last night a number of us on Twitter were expressing our dismay that Rand Paul officially endorsed Mitt Romney. (We expressed it previously when he implicitly endorsed him, too.) At one point someone suggested we all write letters to Ron and Rand Paul to be sure they clearly understand our thoughts on this matter. It seemed a great idea. I determined to do it, and here is the result.
I decided not to include Rand Paul in the salutation, not because I am ignoring him but because, in the letter, I also want to let Ron Paul and all his family know how much and why they are appreciated. So part of the letter is a thank you to the entire family, including Rand. My criticism of Rand Paul directly concerns his representation of the liberty movement, so I placed it in that context.
Putting myself in the Paul family’s and campaign staff’s shoes, I know that I would want people whose lives I have affected and who care about me to be honest in a respectful way. I have tried to do that here.
Some may think my words too harsh, so I will tell you in advance I firmly disagree. I strongly advise against being too easy on ourselves or others who are affecting our lives when it comes to matters of significance, otherwise we may all slide further down the slippery slope to serfdom.
June 8, 2012
Open Letter to Dr. Ron Paul
Dear Dr. Paul,
You are one of the few individuals in public life whose statements I find myself agreeing with time and time again. And I am quite aware the reason I agree with them is your opinions are rooted in the philosophy of liberty, of non-coercion. You yourself said in one of the debates that consistency is one of your best character traits, and I recognize you achieve that consistency not by being stodgy or uncooperative, but by following sound principles rooted in natural law.
That you have a clear philosophy that staunchly defends natural law, and, by extension, individual liberty, and that you strive to live by it, are the reasons you as a man appeal to so many Americans, and not just to the young. Whether or not we consciously recognize it, we sense that human liberty erodes with every inconsistent, unprincipled action that accepts, condones, or promotes the use of force against one or a few to achieve the goals (even worthy goals) of others.
Intuitively, at least, individuals who value freedom understand this and that is why your message is so beloved. And equally endearing is that you are dependable and consistent—in other words, your thoughts and actions with regard to the liberty of others are predictable. And this, in particular, is a character trait we would all do well to cultivate. It is the trait that every free American, whether consciously or just intuitively, yearns to see develop in others and be applied in every area of life.
We know that the philosophy of liberty, which embodies valuing individual life, thought, and creativity; seeking and embracing truth and reality; following principles of non-coercion or non-aggression (except in clear self-defense); and attempting to apply these principles without compromise, in every thought and action, whether on a small or large scale, while recognizing our faults and humanness, and being kind and admitting when we are wrong and then trying to repair any damage, is part of what was meant by the words Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence.
In simply living your life as you have and embodying these principles to such a great extent, you have led many others to strive to do the same and to support your candidacies for the presidency, especially in 2008 and in 2012. Always there was no doubt you are exceedingly important as an individual, but it was also clear that your philosophy was essential and significant beyond you or any individual. I have heard you say it yourself, “My Cause is the Cause of Liberty.” And I think I can speak for most of your supporters in saying that Liberty is our cause, too. There was never any need for campaign statements to explain this. In fact, they often offend in their poor estimation of our understanding.
When we say something like “Ron Paul or No One At All” or anything like that, we are referring to the current field of candidates. What we mean to say is that there is no other candidate even close to being worthy of our vote. Yes, we love and admire you! But it’s mostly for your thoughts, your philosophy, and your courage in applying them. We feel a similar love for any leader, thinker, speaker, and especially politician, who is smart enough, bold enough, strong enough to take a consistent stand for liberty, especially over the course of so many years, as you have done.
Perhaps you never expected to remain in the field so long in 2012. Perhaps you never really wanted to be president, deep down, in your heart of hearts, and who could blame you. Perhaps the course of your campaign is all part of some plan or manipulation we were never supposed to notice or to understand. Whatever it is, we did notice. We noticed that momentum built more than once then was slowed by your own campaign’s statements. We noticed the hints about being friendly with the Romneys. We were betrayed by lack of information: for example, thinking the RNC had broken rule 11 (a) and left you out deliberately, we protested loudly and only later learned, through Jesse Benton, that your campaign had been offered assistance and turned it down. We were betrayed by being chastised for criticizing the Romney campaign for corruption, when we know full well they are deserving of such criticism. We were dismayed and confused by mixed messages coming from Jesse Benton and Rand Paul on more than one other occasion. Finally, and most dismaying and disheartening of all, we were betrayed by Rand’s official endorsement of Mitt Romney.
Over the course of the last year or so, our family has given every extra dollar to Liberty-related organizations, most to your campaign. We live on a low income (and earn every cent), so the relatively little we give matters a lot to us. We did it because Liberty matters more than comfort. We did it because we wanted to do everything possible to ensure the success of your campaign. We also attended sign waves (including in pouring cold rain on election day), manned information booths, talked with everyone who would listen, etc., etc., etc. And we know individuals who have put in FAR MORE money and time than we have—and we know there are many, many more out there. Did we do it for you as an individual? No, of course not. That would be insane. Again, we were inspired by you but knew all along we were doing it not for you but for the IDEAS you are representing.
Thus for the campaign to tell us ad nauseum—the movement is bigger than Ron Paul, the Revolution will continue, taking over the GOP is the most significant accomplishment, and so on and so forth—was to throw poison darts at the very people who understand it all better than anyone. It was also not-so-subtly telling us you or someone in your campaign was ready to throw the fight or trip before the finish line. We got it. We get it.
And we get what the alliance with Romney is about. We get that the GOP-Romney machine is more powerful than you and that they have pushed Rand to capitulate. Maybe they have threatened lives. Maybe they have some sort of Stygian stranglehold on America, the grip of which we cannot yet understand. Or maybe Rand didn’t have to be pushed. Maybe he’s not as principled as you are; maybe his cause is not the Cause of Liberty, after all; though, to be fair, it has seemed to be in so many respects. Maybe, for Rand, gaining power is his priority, and he has intellectually justified a friendly alliance with the man who created the model for Obama Care, whose economic plan would add to the debt, who said he would sign the NDAA (with provision 1021), who would coldly continue the War on Drugs, who is ready to declare war without going to proper lengths to prevent it, and so on.
In endorsing Romney, Rand is not only violating principle; in doing so, he is setting a terrible example for America just when we were looking to him to set a good one. It is exactly this sort of compromise that is destroying Liberty and America, and it MUST stop if we are ever to defend the ground we still have, much less reclaim lost ground. But you know that.
Or could it be, Dr. Paul, that you are not exactly who you say you are either? I do not want to believe that, not at all. You seem to know better than anyone that following natural law, the philosophy of liberty, allows for consistently principled actions that are predictable and good and just. And you know that it is exactly a planned lack of predictability and goodness and justness that President Obama and his administration (following a long line of similar, albeit not as extreme abusers) are using to fully reshape our economy and to undermine our justice system and our sovereignty and our liberty, all under the guise of such lofty sounding goals as social justice, international cooperation, and environmental protection.
Mitt Romney exhibits some character traits and actions very similar to President Obama’s, and his record (that includes appointing Leftist judges) bears that out. Perhaps Mr. Romney is not a socialist or communist, as Mr. Obama is, but he is no Ron Paul, no Liberty candidate, not even close, nowhere near. Under a Romney presidency, the economy may well improve on the surface, but where will we stand on so many other vital issues related to our liberty? Will we move any closer toward rolling back our extremely hyper-extended government? Will we get out from underneath the oppressive reach of arrogant central planners who vehemently believe in social contracts, so long as they are the enforcers?
The evidence before us says we will find ourselves, under Romney, on the same ground, or worse, in that we may be lulled into complacency once again; it’s easier than fighting, after all. If Obama remains in office, at least the fight will continue unabated, on a broader scale, because the threats he poses are more clearly tied to a type of socialism even people outside the liberty movement recognize; whereas, they may not immediately recognize Romney’s brand of stealth authoritarian-progressivism that is equally dangerous. Endorsing Romney, therefore, in itself, would be a violation of your own stated principles. If you are who you say you are, you cannot do it for any reason I can fathom.
Thus, your son Rand, in endorsing Romney, and some members of your own campaign staff, such as Jack Hunter (who was excusing Rand’s endorsement), must not fully comprehend the depth of knowledge of the average person in the liberty movement, or even comprehend how essential consistently principled action is to the movement’s well-being and to the well-being of every American, to every human being. It is simple, really: Two wrongs do not make a right.
Or perhaps these bizarre actions of Rand and some members of your campaign are attributable to a secret but ongoing national emergency demanding compromising and humiliating political theater from any number of so-called principled constitutionalists (thinking also of Levin, Hannity, and Palin endorsing Romney and Orrin Hatch), such that they will reveal to us later they had to feign compliance to the establishment in order to save us all. But that sounds like something out of a comic book, and I’m guessing reality is a lot uglier and more mundane.
One day, about a year ago or so, I was fortunate enough to meet you briefly, Dr. Paul, and to shake your hand. In that moment, you were so polite and kind. I liked you a lot. You thanked me for coming. I thanked you for all you have done. I meant every word. And I will continue to treasure being able to thank you personally. In my mind I was thanking you for all the ease and comfort you have given-up, for all the stress and strain you have endured, for all the harsh words you have borne with equanimity. I will continue to hold your life in my mind as an example for how to live my own, as an example to share with my children and someday my grandchildren. And I will always be grateful to Carol and to all your family, too, including Rand, for sharing you with the world and for all the grueling hours they have endured as well.
I doubt you will let us down. Why would you, after all you’ve gone through? But even if you did, the memory of who we thought you were will live forever. It will live in everyone who understands The Cause of Liberty. It will live in everyone who refuses to make immoral compromises and to quietly comply with oppression. You have ignited a healthy spark of liberty in many minds that would otherwise remain dull, compliant, and resigned, and THAT, not whether we take over the GOP, or any party, is what matters most, because it is that spark that will spread and eventually lead America and the entire world to real freedom.