It is getting a bit embarrassing to admit one likes Ayn Rand or Ludwig vonMises any more.
First, we have Ron Paul. Now, yes, I admit it, I like much of what Rep. Paul has to say. I even own a copy of "The Case for Gold" that has been heavily read since I bought it in the mid 80's, to the point that pages are falling out. Yes, Rep.Paul has a lot of good points. But he is also a cretin in his support of absolute isolationism, and in his claims that the US is near fascist now. (Bet I guaranteed some nasty comments with that line.) Perhaps the oceans provided an impenetrable wall in the 18th century, but no longer. And, no matter what we do, even if we are complete isolationists, there are evil, expansionist doctrines out there (Communism,anyone? Militant Islam?) that will attack us even if we do nothing to upset them. Sorry, but we cannot remain uninvolved in global politics if we want to survive. One angry true believer with a vial of smallpox taking a flight from Tehran to JFK could cause more deaths than any army did in the 18th century. And there are people out there who would do it, even if we withdrew all our troops to our borders and let the Moslem hordes slaughter every last Jew. We would still be a target.
Second, the Rand fanatics and other libertarians themselves. These guys just can't tone it down. They insist on shouting about Bush being a fascist, demanding the instant destruction of the federal reserve, and the appointment of Ron Paul as Lord Protector of the USA. Except for the Paul part, they sound like the more extreme wing of the MoveOn.org crowd. In short, they sound like I did when I first read Ayn Rand as a naive 18 year old. Sadly, they are mostly not naive 18 year olds. Once you have a paunch, thinning hair and a mortgage, you shouldn't sound like an angry teen any more.
And I think that's the problem with the Rand libertarian camp. No sense of perspective, just like a teen. When a teen says Mom is "ruining his life", he is lacking perspective, same when Rand-ites claim Bush is Hitler. They can't see that their belief in absolute rules that must be obeyed at all times and in all or nothing negotiations makes them politically marginalized (and insufferable to boot). Those who cannot compromise, and cannot see any merit in an opposing position will accomplish nothing, as without compromise we are left with nothing but violent revolution. That or political impotence.
And since these Rand-ites seem too few in number to form some sort of Ayn Rand/Ludwig vonMises militia, I think they are stuck with being politically impotent.
Well, they did accomplish one thing: I am now embarrassed to mention either Ayn Rand or Ludwig vonMises in public for fear of being associated with them.
Originally Posted in Random Notes on 2007/11/12.