Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Paul Family and Libertarian Slogans

Taxation = theft?

It's a provactive assertion, to be sure, in a sophomoric sort of way.

I went for it myself, on a purely intellectual level, when reading Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia as a college junior. A year later, I even followed up by reading Ayn Rand's libertarian panegyric, Atlas Shrugged.

That was then, this is now.

When I was growing up, the old saw used to be that anyone who wasn't a communist at twenty had no heart, while anyone who was still a communist at forty had no head.

That hoary old maxim is now a relic of the Cold War world.

But let's give libertarianism its due. The recent New York Times profile of Rand Paul, the 47-year-old upstart candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, showed the consistency of the political philosophy to which everyone in his family of origin apparently subscribes. Rand's father, Ron Paul, is a former Libertarian candidate for president. In the Times piece, his brother, Ronnie Paul, claimed to speak for all of them when making this assertion:

"We believe that stealing from people is not good, whether you're the government or whether you have a mask on."

A clever, clearly well rehearsed, line. But how, one wonders, can Ron Paul serve in Congress in good conscience if he believes this to be true, and why does Rand Paul want to serve in the Senate, if all the government is is a gang of thieves?

At least there was one surprise in the Times article. Rand Paul was NOT named after Ayn Rand; his name is short for Randall.

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