It seems to me that every time the good folks over here at Punk Rock Libertarians post any article pertaining to Rand Paul, we get a whole slew of complaints and baseless criticism due to merely sharing articles pertaining to liberty issues invoking Rand. Is Rand a libertarian? He himself has said that he’s not. I believe a good way to describe Rand would be as a “libertarian- leaning constitutional conservative”. It seems to me that no matter what your views of Rand are, like it or not for many he is the face of libertarianism in modern mainstream American politics. I’ve compiled a question and answer session for all of the Facebook moderators of PRL explaining their views on Rand. Let’s alleviate the confusion: “What do Punk Rock Libertarians really think of Rand Paul?!”
What is your overall opinion of Rand Paul?
Matt Bergman: I thoroughly believe Rand to currently be the best thing libertarians have going for us in the Senate. However that doesn’t really say much does it? Mostly for me, Rand falls way short in the subject of getting the government out of the marriage business. Rand seems to be perfectly comfortable (and prefers) the government defining marriage by his own beliefs and denying others the right to define marriage by their own. As a voluntaryist, if Rand and I were locked in a room together discussing ideas we would be sure to not see completely eye to eye on many subjects. However I totally give him props on his recent public criticisms of prohibition and the racist prison industrial complex. It seems that many times when I actually hear of a good bill coming out of the Senate, Rand is the author. I believe that he addresses issues that most others don’t and then often times precedes to get those issues mainstream press. As far as comparing Rand to his father, I mostly feel like the apple fell far from the tree. However it could also be said that Rand’s more palatable brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism might reach a broader demographic and may be more successful at bringing issues of liberty to the mainstream.
Jared Schneiderman: I’ve always thought of Rand Paul as like a libertarian Trojan horse to the GOP. He has been able to appeal to the religious conservatives of the party while still being liberty-minded and an advocate of the free market. There are still several issues I disagree with him on, including his stance on gay marriage and abortion. But I’d like to think that he is just playing the political game, and that upon being elected for President he would flip the switch and go full bore libertarian. It’s hard to say though.
John Vibes: I am not a political person, so I rarely trust politicians. However, Ron Paul was one of the few who actually spoke the truth about war, economics, the drug war, and the state in general. His son Rand Paul seems to compromise much more, a strategy that I don’t believe will make any progress for freedom.
Brian Combs: Rand Paul is my favorite senator. He could use some work on a number of social issues but he’s really the only person in the Senate that I find myself frequently agreeing with. I also think he’s the best chance that libertarians have in 2016. He may not be the most ideologically pure candidate but he’s proven himself to be politically viable, even outside of his fathers supporters.
Do you think that you would consider voting for Rand Paul in 2016?
Matt Bergman: Personally I don’t think I would ever vote for Rand Paul. However I don’t think less of people who would. I’m thankful that he’s around. I just don’t think I like him enough to sign my name under his. If he ever got elected President I’d probably be secretly happy on the inside because ultimately I feel like he’s probably the best guy out of everyone who could possibly get the job. While at the same time,the side of me that is very weary of two party politics fears that he may forever stain the term “libertarian” in two party politics. However, that concern may be a little far fetched considering that I still feel it would a be a vast and nearly impossible feat to be worse than any President that we’ve had in recent years.
Jared Schneiderman: I’m torn about whether I would vote for him or not. On the one hand, I don’t like to vote because I don’t want to endorse the system. If no one voted, the system would cease to function. But on the other hand, as that outcome is rather unlikely, I would be interested to see what would happen if Rand Paul were elected and if any progress would actually be made. Is it enough to have a libertarian in office, or is the system so fucked that it wouldn’t even matter? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
John Vibes: I would not consider voting for Rand Paul.
Brian Combs: I plan to vote for him.