J. Wilson: “The Libertarian Party Attacked Rand Paul, Libertarians Attacked Back”


The Libertarian Party Attacked Rand Paul, Libertarians Attacked Back

BY J. Wilson
March 4, 2015

The Libertarian Party posted the above image on their Facebook page. The backlash they received in the comments was well deserved. Hundreds of people commented, and all of the top comments were people disgusted with the image. Fans called it “childish”, “idiotic”, and “shortsighted”. They’re right, and their comments received more likes than the post itself.

Their post was an utterly blatant smear. Nothing more. It’s shameful that the Libertarian Party attacked Rand Paul this way. Trying to put Rand Paul in the same category as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton is despicable. If they wanted to challenge Paul on his positions, that would be one thing. This is entirely different, and doesn’t set the example that libertarians expect from the Libertarian Party. They’re supposed to be the ‘Party of Principle’, not the Party of Pettiness.

It’s a rather pathetic attempt to discredit a man who’s done great things for liberty. Unlike the Bushs and Clintons, the Pauls are not tyrants or elitists. They don’t come from power, and don’t exert any. They’re humble men that have had, and will have, a lasting effect on liberty in this country.

To try and compare Rand Paul to Jeb Bush, or Hillary Clinton, is desperate. Unlike those two tarnished dynasties, the Paul name is respectable. Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism than the Libertarian Party has itself. Ron Paul is surely ashamed of the Libertarian Party for this baseless, and tasteless attack on his son. After all, at the heart of it it’s an attack on his name.

Furthermore, if the intention was to compare Rand Paul’s political beliefs to Bush’s or Clinton’s, that’s even more deplorable. No libertarian, even the most purist ones, would say that Paul’s beliefs are anywhere near comparable to Bush’s or Clinton’s. Those two are famously neo-conservative big government tyrants. Rand Paul is through and through a small government conservative, and libertarian. Even those who claim he isn’t libertarian enough don’t compare him to Bush or Clinton.

For the Libertarian Party to attempt to color him as a big government elitist running on his last name is a miserably inadequate smear. Libertarians know where candidates stand on the issues, and what their qualifications are. We don’t listen to these paltry attacks because they only come from the impetuous. It’s absolute desperation that drives these type of personal attacks, and libertarians see right through them.

It’s obvious that the Libertarian Party is afraid that libertarians will support Rand Paul in 2016. They should be afraid, because libertarians should support him. Attacks like these give us even more reason to.

Read more here

44 thoughts on “J. Wilson: “The Libertarian Party Attacked Rand Paul, Libertarians Attacked Back”

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I didn’t care for the meme because I thought it was unecessarily divisive, but this stupid article makes it clear that the “Libertarian Party” is going to be attacked as not being “real libertarians” like Rand. I’m so disgusted at his signing that awful letter to Iran that I don’t think I can ever consider Rand, even if NOTA is the LP’s candidate.

    It’s going to be a long and unpleasant presidential election season.

  2. George Phillies

    “A Libertarian Future” is a propaganda site for the Republican Warmonger party, the party that gave us domestic phone spying, the Defense of Marriage Act, dronification of women and children, the war crimes campaign against Iraq, and republican laws plotting to murder our daughters by denying them abortion access. For starters.

    Good work on the poster, Tom.

    Outright got it 100% right with their poster (above).

  3. Andy Craig

    Rand Paul has repeatedly gone out of his way to attack the Libertarian Party, campaign against Libertarian candidates, endorse their Republican opponents, etc. He’s made perfectly clear that if he had his way, there wouldn’t even be a Libertarian Party. Implying that the LP “started it” is dishonest at best.

    I dislike the meme for other reasons, mainly because I agree it’s not a good substantive criticism, and the implied criticism of our 1988 nominee was ill-advised. But the implication that the LP should never criticize The Great Psuedo-Libertarian Hope Rand Paul is inane. When Sarwark criticizes Rand as a war-monger, or Johnson criticizes him for being a social-con, those are the exact same criticisms we’d level at any other Senator or Presidential candidate with an (R) behind their name.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    Thanks, George, but I didn’t create that. It’s been floating around.

    Of course, the article goes off the rails as soon as it starts pretending that the initial meme originated with “the Libertarian Party.”

    It originated with one caucus within the LP (Outright Libertarians, of which I am a proud member).

    It was posted to the LP’s Facebook page by someone (I don’t know who).

    Was posting it on the LP’s Facebook page a good idea? I have no real opinion.

    Was removing it from the LP’s Facebook page when the Republican fifth column at LNC/LPHQ started whining about it a good idea? Not even a little.

    If hosting the meme on the LP’s Facebook page was a mistake, it was a minor, trivial mistake.

    Letting our opponents control our communications is a HUGE mistake.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    Equilibrating the Pauls with the Bushes and Clintons (both who’ve had family members in the Oval) is silly on its face. No Paul has been president.

    This picks a weird fight for no obvious reason, and does so poorly.

    Differentiating Ls from Rand is within bounds, I’d say, but this is not an effective means of doing so.

  6. Mike Kane

    Just recently, Rand Paul signed on with 47 other Republican Senators on an open letter to Iran regarding Nuclear agreements. So much for the ‘libertarian’ Rand Paul and his ‘non-interventionist’ and ‘peaceful’ foreign policy.

    So tell me about how Rand Paul has done so much for liberty.

  7. Dave

    Rand signing that letter made me lose a good deal of my remaining respect for him. Reminds me that I should look at RP forums and see how they’re dealing with it. When you have to spend 50% of your time asserting that your candidate doesn’t really mean whatever it is he’s doing, there’s a good chance he actually does.

    The irony of all this is that the neocons STILL attacked Rand for not applauding Netenyahu’s speech strongly enough. So even if this all is a super secret attempt to win them over, he’s doing a lousy job. Worth noting that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has already pledged whatever it takes to stop Rand from being the nominee. So all these moves on his part to suck up to the establishment really haven’t done anything but burned a lot of people’s goodwill towards him.

    Do I still think Rand is “better” from a libertarian perspective than his rivals? Sure, probably to some small degree. But William Jennings Bryan and FDR were probably slightly better in the same way to the socialists. And those guys managed to take a lot out of the sails of left wing third parties. I think the same would be true of a Rand presidency.

    If he becomes president and does poorly, libertarianism as a whole is tarnished amongst the unaware general public who have been conditioned to think him having that label. If he’s seen as a great president, you’d have tons more Republicans running and claiming to be libertarians, which would really dilute the message of the actual LP. So for these reasons, I can understand why the LP wants to put as much distance between them and Rand as possible.

  8. Dave

    If anyone is curious how some of Rand’s fans are dealing with this, here’s a link to where they discuss it


    A lot of backpedaling and cognitive dissonance, but a fair number of people seem disgusted. Perhaps I need to reconsider my argument that Rand should not be attacked. The best way to get through to dissatisfied Rand fans might be to point out the unlibertarians things he has done. Certainly a big enough list.

    Geese, at this point I’m starting to like Obama more than Rand friggen Paul. Strange world, strange world indeed…

  9. George Phillies

    Such wimpy criticism of Republicans.

    For serious criticism not the lead hashtag #47traitors and the Daily News Front page with a picture of four of the Senators involved, and the front page headline TRAITORS.

  10. Mark Axinn

    Does anyone really think the Republican machine will let an upstart like Rand Paul get nominated?

  11. Mark Axinn

    Upstart to them, not to us.

    To us, he’s Libertarian lite, with emphasis these days on the light.

  12. Rebel Alliance

    It’s a distortion to claim that “the Libertarian Party” attacked Rand Paul. This graphic was made by Outright USA. Look, it’s right there on the graphic!

    It’s not posted under the LP’s facebook news feed, it doesn’t appear anywhere on their website, and it’s not the result of any official party action or decision. For some reason someone did upload it to the LP’s FB photo album, which is where all the comments are. But just 1 administrator can hardly be called “the Libertarian Party”.

    This isn’t a real article reporting the news, or even an op-ed piece, it reads like someone’s angry facebook rant. The only “utterly blatant smear” is this poorly-written piece. This author is someone who dislikes the LP for whatever reason, probably a GOP operative, who also needs his eyes checked to see if he can read text before he writes it.

  13. Nicholas Sarwark

    We’ve seen this movie before and we know how it ends. We just need to make sure that the Libertarian Party is out in the lobby to pick up the pieces as the disappointed people walk out of the theater.

  14. Andy

    Rand Paul just introduced a bill in Congress for the federal government to stop arresting people for medicinal marijuana.

  15. Thomas L. Knapp

    Wimpy is better than false on its face.

    Treason has a legal/constitutional definition. Signing a letter to the leader of a country the US is not at war with doesn’t come anywhere close to fitting that definition.

  16. Andy Craig

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat this prediction now and on the record: Rand Paul will end the 2016 GOP primary with fewer total votes than Ron Paul received in 2012 (that would 2,017,957 votes, 10.89%, 4th place). The same Ron Paul who didn’t win the popular primary/caucus vote in a single state, and only managed to snag a few state delegations by nominally staying in the race after the candidates who won those states (Gingrich, Santorum) dropped out.

    Not to belittle the things he did accomplish, including indirectly helping to strengthen the LP, but Ron never came anywhere close to being the GOP nominee, and neither will Rand. The difference is Ron Paul knew it and had other reasons for running, whereas Rand has enough delusional yes-men whispering in his ear to mistakenly think he actually has a shot.

    For every marginal pro-war social-authoritarian vote he picks up with his transparently cynical pandering (and those voters all have other, “better” candidates from their perspective), he loses an active volunteer who went out and knocked on doors, distributed literature, manned phone banks, donated money, etc. for his father. The net result, is that Rand will win neither Iowa nor New Hampshire and that will be the end of it. He’s not going to drag it out until the convention like Ron sort-of did, once it’s painfully obvious that he isn’t going to win he’ll drop out and endorse whoever the presumptive GOP nominee is so he can focus on getting re-elected to the Senate. At which point all the grief for the LP from the Rand-ites will mostly cease, and a decent chunk (but probably a minority) of them will vote for the Libertarian nominee.

  17. George Phillies

    This is politics. False is largely not relevant. Also “at war” is not in the definition of treason. “enemies of the United States” has the challenge that while we are their enemies, they are not necessarily our enemies.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp


    You’re 100% wrong. Both the US Constitution and the codification of its treason provision in 18 US Code §2381 make it clear that treason is a wartime crime. That’s why every single treason prosecution in the US since World War II has been for actions taken during World War II.

    The Rosenbergs were not prosecuted for treason.

    Nor was Jonathan Pollard. Nor was John Hinckley . Nor was John Walker. Nor was John Walker Lindh.

    Jose Padilla was not prosecuted for treason. Nidal Hassan was not prosecuted for treason. Chelsea Manning was not prosecuted for treason.

    None of these people were prosecuted for treason because it was impossible for them to have committed treason, since the US has not been at war, and therefore has not had any “enemies” in a legal sense, since 1945.

    Accusing the 47 idiots in the US Senate of “treason” makes no more sense than accusing them, on the basis of the letter, of loitering, jaywalking or vagrancy.

  19. Andy

    Ron Paul mobilized lots of volunteers. It will be interesting to see how many volunteers Rand Paul will get. My guess is that he will not get as many volunteers as his father got, but we will have to wait and see.

  20. Joe Wendt

    Personally, I like this meme/poster. The way I took it is that it’s telling the Libertarians not to blindly follow the members of would be political dynasties ( the Bushs for the GOP, the Clintons for the Dems, and the Pauls for Libertarians). Ron Paul is a Libertarian icon; while Rand is nowhere close to being anything like his Father in terms of Libertarianism. Libertarians who love Ron Paul shouldn’t blindly following and worshiping Rand because he’s Ron Paul’s son.

  21. George Phillies

    Tom ” Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” No reference to “we must be at war with them” That’s a standard far right wing lack of reading.

    2) Aaron Burr. With plenty of founders alive to argue the point.

    3) In case you haven’t noticed, I am not the NY Daily News, which isa right wing Republican newspaper. Nor do I use hashtags..in fact the above is the first time I have typed one.

    4) Your point is totally irrelevant to the political reality of the situation, though I believe the serious people have complaints about the Logan Act.

  22. Andy Craig

    @Joe Wendt

    I think that’s a fine point, and fair game for Libertarians. But it’s not what the meme said, and I doubt it was the point Outright intended because they’re quite critical of Paul the elder as well (with some justification, given their focus on LGBT issues).

    It’s hard to read “No more […] Pauls” as being critical of Rand for being too different from Ron. It obviously wasn’t the point being made for Bush and Clinton (i.e. it wasn’t saying “Don’t vote for Hillary because she’s not like Bill, and don’t vote for Jeb because he’s not like George W.”)

    @ George Phillies

    Aaron Burr was charged for the “levying war against the United States” part of the definition of treason (and was acquitted because he didn’t actually do so, he just planned to. Or because Chief Justice Marshall just liked to piss in Thomas Jefferson’s Cheerios, depending on who you ask). That sort of treason isn’t dependent on the existence or participation of other enemies, only the rest of the clause (“adhering,” “aid and comfort”) is dependent on the existence of “enemies of the United States” to adhere to or aid.

    It’s all a moot theoretical exercise, but I’m sure if anybody today was charged with treason because they adhered to or gave aid and comfort to, for example, the gov’t of Iran, their attorney would raise a defense that disputes the status of Iran as an “enem[y] of the United States” due to the lack of military hostilities.

    And I don’t know if anybody can really say for sure, if such a defense would succeed, because the courts have never directly ruled on the question. But it’s not obviously incorrect. Otherwise, what’s the limiting principle that would distinguish Iran from Canada? Where would America’s #1 frenemy, China, fit on that spectrum? Is any nation or foreign government that might somebody go to war with the US an “enemy” within the definition of the treason clause?

    I don’t think you can really read “enemies of the United States” to refer to any nation that has less-than-allied relations with the US. That it refers to a nation or power at war with the United States, if not the definitive interpretation, is at the very least a plausible interpretation.

  23. paulie

    Jay Wilson is just mad because he was kicked off the LP social media volunteer team. He was kicked off because he was not OK with having his website which he gets ad revenue for being used as a source for LP memes on the national facebook more than once a week.

    He complained about me using IPR as a source for national LP facebook posts, even though I get zero revenue from IPR so I have no incentive to run up the site hits here, and even though I am OK with not using IPR more than once a week as a source. He also got it into his head that I have something to do with the Daily Babble, a site which I suggested a bunch of posts to repost from on our internal discussions. I made it clear that I have absolutely nothing to do with running that site or posting there, but I guess he did not believe me.

    As for who is attacking back…Rand Paul absolutely hit first. The meme was a belated response. Story coming up.

  24. Mike Kane

    “The irony of all this is that the neocons STILL attacked Rand for not applauding Netenyahu’s speech strongly enough. So even if this all is a super secret attempt to win them over, he’s doing a lousy job. Worth noting that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has already pledged whatever it takes to stop Rand from being the nominee. So all these moves on his part to suck up to the establishment really haven’t done anything but burned a lot of people’s goodwill towards him. ”

    I think Libertarians who suck up and talk about making government work more efficient, the “reformers” do a disservice to the party and the message at times. They fail to realize that no matter how much watering down of the message they do (to try and win votes), it’s rarely worth it.

  25. paulie


    Marrou has a son who is one of the plausibly serious presidential contenders of the Republican Party (NSGOP), who is a sitting US Senator, who is frequently called a libertarian all over the media but says the label is an albatross being hung around his neck, who has a lot of anti-liberty views and votes 83% with the Republican establishment, who frequently campaigns for establishment and warmongering/theocratic Republicans against Libertarians (and even endorsed one over his own father), who is personally committed to destroying the LP and has hired a campaign manager whose last gig was pulling out all the stops to keep the LP off the ballot, who has used all his power and connections to threaten news organizations into silencing journalists who even dare to ask him questions he does not like?

    The things I did not know.

    Shit, I’d be begging the national office to start making those things known to as many people as they could, as soon as possible, if I knew something like that.

    Especially if a lot of people thought he was entitled to receive inherit the leadership of the libertarian brand and the support of all libertarians and Libertarians from his father as some sort of birthright.

  26. langa

    The original graphic and this stupid response are both blatant examples of a phenomenon I have repeatedly mentioned: the intellectually dishonest attempt to conflate Ron Paul and Rand Paul by collectively referring to them as “the Pauls” or by assuming that simply because they are related, they must have similar political beliefs — as if no one ever disagrees with their parents when it comes to politics!!!

    This intellectual mendacity is usually practiced by self-styled “libertarians”, for the purposes of either criticizing Ron or defending Rand. But regardless of the motivation, it is no less idiotic. Ron and Rand are two separate people, and they deserve to be judged on their own merits. Period. To continue do otherwise is cowardly, dishonest and contrary to the “individualism” that these so-called “libertarians” ostensibly espouse.

  27. Thomas L. Knapp


    On the one hand, yes, each individual should be judged on his or her own merits.

    On the other hand, no, not “period.”

    Rand Paul is a US Senator and likely presidential candidate right now because he’s Ron Paul’s son. Yes, there are other factors involved, but that’s an essential one — absent that one, he’s just an ophthalmologist from Kentucky who has as much chance of being elected to the US Senate or the presidency of the United States as you or I do.

    Their similarities and their connections are fair game for criticism.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    L, a good point as far as it goes. However, doesn’t RP support RP2? Doesn’t RP encourage his supporters to support RP2? And doesn’t RP2 echo SOME of RP’s positions, unlike most other R pols?

    While we are all individuals with somewhat different takes on things, it’s also the case that we use labels to navigate and discern the things we prefer and support, and the things we don’t.

    When a semi-major pol is associated with Ls as RP and RP2 are, we recognize this as both a blessing and a curse. RP, for ex., probably is the single most influential figure in what is called L-ism today. And yet the RP brand also damages the LM with all the garbage swirling around NewsletterGate1 and 2.

    Unfortunately, in the public consciousness, “if RP = L, and RP promoted hate, then Ls are haters.”

    And if RP2 often sounds like RP, all the sins of the father are ascribed to the son. As are the virtues.

    That’s the game. How to play the game with dignity and effectiveness is no easy task.

  29. Joe Wendt

    @ Andy Craig

    The point I was making could be inferred by the fact only Rand is pictured in the meme.

  30. Seymour Results

    We’ve seen this movie before and we know how it ends. We just need to make sure that the Libertarian Party is out in the lobby to pick up the pieces as the disappointed people walk out of the theater.

    Sadly, you are probably correct. Of course, I think that “while the movie is playing” is also a good time for us to be involved. Rand Paul is not the enemy. He may placate his idiotic party with some idiotic statements, but he’s the only one who can bear Hillary, and they know it. Perhaps that’s why they’re trying to remove Hillary from circulation early. (Stranger things have happened.)

    The Libertarian Party is poised to be the party of benevolence and intelligence. That doesn’t happen by infighting. It’s always best to commend Rand on all the things he’s done right, even if they are sometimes half-measures dictated by his being 1/535 instead of 1/1.

    Rand got elected. He uses the term libertarian all the time. He suggests that we should end the racist drug war, reaching out to black America, in a way the LP has continuously failed to do for 44 years. Rand will likely popularize the term “libertarian” more than any Libertarian Candidate in 2015 and 2016. (I’m really hoping that Jesse Ventura doesn’t use the LP for ballot access. Not because he couldn’t do it, and not because he wouldn’t make a pretty good candidate, but because he insists on calling himself an Independent and treating the LP like an embarrassment that’s only necessary for ballot access instead of knowing enough to own the term.)

    Please, read this:

    Please, get State Legislators elected. Please, stop spending enough money to finance 15 State Legislative Campaigns flying to blather-filled LNC meetings. Please, abolish in-person meetings, hold SKYPE meetings, and publish them online.

    I’m sorry if I sound rude here, but the message I deleted was even ruder. I’m doing my best restrain myself and “play nice.”

  31. paulie

    For everyone misunderstanding the meme, here once again is the explanation of what it actually means from the original source:

    I want to point out the historical point addressed by this meme: an ideological critique to the notion of inherited power in what is supposed to be a merit-based individualist society. Having power pass from father to son was the legacy of aristocracy and monarchy … It’s impossible to be a Constitutional conservative and want to be ruled by an aristocracy.

    The error in reasoning which leads people to believe that Rand must surely be like his father, is the same one which led humans to submit to hereditary transfers of power for thousands of years, and which leads people to believe that entire families of evil human beings named “Clinton” or “Bush” must be great ideas for President!! Confronting that core idea is totally fair game for libertarian activism within the context of a constitutional republic which our founders absolutely never meant to become anything like what they fought to overcome.

    The fact that this escaped nearly everybody who saw the meme is just proof of how far we’ve strayed from one of the most important concepts that fueled the revolution that led to our founding. Go read the Federalist/Anti-Federalist documents if you aren’t aware of what a huge thing that was to both sides of the question – all were agreed that aristocracies were to be avoided no matter what; that power should no longer be passed as inheritance, but that it must be earned by merit.

    I believe it is very clear, Rand has not earned by merit the loyalty he claims through his father, and a dialogue about that is useful not only against Rand, but against the Clintons and Bushes as well. The thing they have in common was really important to our founders … It should be important to us, too.

  32. langa

    Their similarities and their connections are fair game for criticism.

    The problem is that their similarities are largely limited to their last name.

    Debating whether “the Pauls” are libertarians is kind of like debating whether “the Friedmans” (Milton and David) are anarchists. No matter which side of these arguments you take, you’re sure to be half right and half wrong.

  33. langa

    L, a good point as far as it goes. However, doesn?t RP support RP2? Doesn?t RP encourage his supporters to support RP2? And doesn?t RP2 echo SOME of RP?s positions, unlike most other R pols?

    Actually, I rarely hear Ron mention Rand at all, unless he’s directly asked about him, in which case he usually says something about how “proud” he is of him. But then again, what father is going to publicly say he’s ashamed of his own son? As for taking the same positions, I’d say Rand takes similar positions to Ron on maybe half the issues, but even on those, he usually espouses a watered-down version of his father’s position. In short, Ron is better than Rand on almost every single issue.

    When a semi-major pol is associated with Ls as RP and RP2 are, we recognize this as both a blessing and a curse. RP, for ex., probably is the single most influential figure in what is called L-ism today. And yet the RP brand also damages the LM with all the garbage swirling around NewsletterGate1 and 2.

    I’m not getting sucked into another debate on the newsletter garbage. For my view on that, see my response to Kevin Carson on the libertarianism/anarchy thread, or my comments on this thread: https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2015/02/steven-rodriguez-thank-you-ron-paul-now-step-aside-so-we-can-support-individual-liberty-for-all/

  34. langa

    For everyone misunderstanding the meme, here once again is the explanation of what it actually means from the original source:

    As I said before, either that explanation is a lie, or else whoever designed the meme is politically clueless, as evidence by the fact that almost no one took it that way.

    Besides, as AC points out above, if that explanation is true, the meme would also be saying that the problem with Hillary is that she’s not enough like Bill, and the problem with Jeb is that he’s not enough like the other Bushes. Is that really a plausible interpretation?

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I’m not getting sucked into another debate on the newsletter garbage.”

    Considering how badly you get your ass whipped every time you do, that’s probably the smart move.

  36. George Phillies

    Seymour … why would a Libertarian care whether a Democratic Socialist or a Republican Warmonger was elected? There is more than a dime’s worth of difference between those two parties these days, and it is fairly clear that the Republicans are worse.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    L: Actually, I rarely hear Ron mention Rand at all, unless he’s directly asked about him, in which case he usually says something about how “proud” he is of him.

    me: I’ll defer to you on this, since I don’t follow RP all that closely.

    I wonder how much RP’s many mailng and email lists are being lent/rented to RP2. My guess is quite a bit of intermingling goes on there. RP2 was a political novice in 2010, after all. Recall the Paulista tactic of “money bombs” to win the primary against an establishment R.

    Is it a stretch to say that RP2 were not the son of Ron, he would not be a senator today?

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