Ron Paul has a strange assortment of followers, ranging from naive younger voters who mistakenly think that Ron Paul’s brand of conservatism promotes liberty to neo-Nazis who recognize the more likely result of a Paul government which ignores the structures of government needed to preserve liberty. Many of the libertarians who did support Paul in the past abandoned him when his old racist and ant-Semitic writings were exposed as having been published with Paul’s approval. Libertarian writer Will Wilkinson is bothered by the fact that Paul is associated with libertarianism:
Yet it irks me that, as far as most Americans are concerned, Ron Paul is the alpha and omega of the libertarian creed. If you were an evil genius determined to promote the idea that libertarianism is a morally dubious ideology of privilege poorly disguised as a doctrine of liberation, you’d be hard pressed to improve on Ron Paul.
Much of Paul’s appeal comes from the impression he conveys of principled ideological coherence. Other Republican presidential aspirants are transparently pandering grab-bags of incoherent compromise. Ron Paul presents himself as a man of conviction devoted to liberty, plain and simple, who follows logic’s lead and tells it plain. The problem is, often he’s not.
Wilkinson’s arguments against Paul’s views are too long to quote here and I would refer readers to his full article. He concludes:
Thanks to Ron Paul, libertarianism of a certain stripe may be more popular than ever, and its influence on the Tea Party and the broader conservative movement is not hard to see. All the same, this brand of libertarianism is never going to “cross the chasm,” as the marketing folks like to say. It’s destined to remain a minority creed, and that’s not because most Americans are stupid or immoral. It’s because libertarians have done a terrible job countering the widespread suspicion that theirs is a uselessly abstract ideology of privilege for socially obtuse adolescent white guys. Ron Paul sure isn’t helping.