Tre-fire måneder før nogen danske MSM opdagede, at der blandt de Republikanske præsidentkandidater var et vist kongresmedlem, Dr. Ron Paul, skrev vi om ham her på stedet. Nu er andre medier ved at følge efter, i takt med at den libertarianske “Dr. No”‘s position som den eneste Republikanske præsidentkandidat, der er–og hele tiden har været–imod Irak-krigen, er ved at manifestere sig. Paul har ganske vist ikke en jordisk chance for at vinde hverken nominering eller præsidentembede, men han er i det mindste et interessant indslag. New York Times havde f.eks. en stor og lang portrætartikel, “The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-
Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul” i søndagsudgavens magasin. Heri hed det bl.a.:
“Paul represents a different Republican Party from the one that Iraq, deficits and corruption have soured the country on. In late June, despite a life of antitax agitation and churchgoing, he was excluded from a Republican forum sponsored by Iowa antitax and Christian groups. His school of Republicanism, which had its last serious national airing in the Goldwater campaign of 1964, stands for a certain idea of the Constitution the idea that much of the power asserted by modern presidents has been usurped from Congress, and that much of the power asserted by Congress has been usurped from the states. Though Paul acknowledges flaws in both the Constitution (it included slavery) and the Bill of Rights (it doesnt go far enough), he still thinks a comprehensive array of positions can be drawn from them: Against gun control. For the sovereignty of states. And against foreign-policy adventures. Paul was the Libertarian Partys presidential candidate in 1988. … In Congress, Paul is generally admired for his fidelity to principle and lack of ego. He is one of the easiest people in Congress to work with, because he bases his positions on the merits of issues, says Barney Frank, who has worked with Paul on efforts to ease the regulation of gambling and medical marijuana. He is independent but not ornery. Paul has made a habit of objecting to things that no one else objects to. In October 2001, he was one of three House Republicans to vote against the USA Patriot Act. He was the sole House member of either party to vote against the Financial Antiterrorism Act (final tally: 412-1). In 1999, he was the only naysayer in a 424-1 vote in favor of casting a medal to honor Rosa Parks. Nothing against Rosa Parks: Paul voted against similar medals for Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. He routinely opposes resolutions that presume to advise foreign governments how to run their affairs: He has refused to condemn Robert Mugabes violence against Zimbabwean citizens (421-1), to call on Vietnam to release political prisoners (425-1) or to ask the League of Arab States to help stop the killing in Darfur (425-1).”
Ikke alle amerikanske libertarianere/liberalister er dog lige begejstrede for Ron Pauls kandidatur. En af de mest begavede akademikere, jeg nogensinde har kendt, er jura-professoren Randy E. Barnett, som i snart 30 år har været kendt som en af de mest velformulerede men også mest “hard core” liberalister i amerikansk samfundsdebat. Han havde i sidste uge et lidt overraskende frontalt angreb på Ron Pauls kandidatur, i en klumme, “Libertarians and the war”, i Wall Street Journal:
“While the number of Americans who self-identify as “libertarian” remains small, a substantial proportion agree with the core stances of limited constitutional government in both the economic and social spheres–what is sometimes called “economic conservatism” and “social liberalism.” But if they watched the Republican presidential debate on May 15, many Americans might resist the libertarian label, because they now identify it with strident opposition to the war in Iraq, and perhaps even to the war against Islamic jihadists.
During that debate, the riveting exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul about whether American foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attack raised the visibility of both candidates. … The exchange also drew attention to Mr. Paul, who until then had been a rather marginal member of the 10-man Republican field. One striking feature of Mr. Paul’s debate performance was his insistence on connecting his answer to almost every question put to him–even friendly questions about taxes, spending and personal liberty–to the war.
This raised the question: Does being a libertarian commit one to a particular stance toward the Iraq war? The simple answer is “no.”
First and foremost, llibertarians believe in robust rights of private property, freedom of contract, and restitution to victims of crime. They hold that these rights define true “liberty” and provide the boundaries within which individuals may pursue happiness by making their own free choices while living in close proximity to each other. Within these boundaries, individuals can actualize their potential while minimizing their interference with the pursuit of happiness by others.
When it comes to foreign policy, libertarians’ severe skepticism of government planning in the domestic arena carries over to the government’s ability to accomplish anything positive through foreign aid, whether economic or military–a skepticism they share with most Americans. All libertarians, I suspect, oppose military conscription on principle, considering it involuntary servitude. To a libertarian, any effort at “nation building” seems to be just another form of central planning which, however well-motivated, is fraught with unintended consequences and the danger of blowback. And, like most everyone, libertarians oppose any war of aggression. In all these regards, Mr. Paul is a mainstream libertarian.
But like all libertarians, even Mr. Paul believes in the fundamental, individual right of self-defense, which is why libertarians like him overwhelmingly support the right to keep and bear arms. And most also believe that when the territory of the U.S. is attacked militarily, the government–which claims a monopoly on providing for national defense and extracts billions of tax dollars for this purpose–is justified in using the military in self-defense. For this reason, many libertarians (though not all) who now oppose the war in Iraq supported U.S. military actions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had aided and harbored the al Qaeda network that organized the 9/11 attack.
But here is the rub. While all libertarians accept the principle of self-defense, and most accept the role of the U.S. government in defending U.S. territory, libertarian first principles of indiv
idual rights and the rule
of law tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense after an attack. Devising a military defense strategy is a matter of judgment or prudence about which reasonable libertarians may differ greatly.”
Herefter skifter Barnetts klumme til en stil, der bedst kan betegnes som “tredje-person flertal”, men som uden tvivl må læses som beskrivende hans eget synspunkt:
“[Some libertarians] supported the war in Iraq because they viewed it as part of a larger war of self-defense against Islamic jihadists who were organizationally independent of any government. They viewed radical Islamic fundamentalism as resulting in part from the corrupt dictatorial regimes that inhabit the Middle East, which have effectively repressed indigenous democratic reformers. Although opposed to nation building generally, these libertarians believed that a strategy of fomenting democratic regimes in the Middle East, as was done in Germany and Japan after World War II, might well be the best way to take the fight to the enemy rather than solely trying to ward off the next attack.
Moreover, the pro-war libertarians believed there was “legal” cause to take military action against Saddam’s regime–from its manifold violations of the ceasefire to firing on American planes legally patrolling the “no fly” zone and its persistent refusals to cooperate with weapons inspections. Saddam’s regime was left in power after its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait on these and other conditions that it repeatedly had violated, thereby legally justifying its removal by force if necessary. Better to be rid of Saddam and establish an ally in the war against Islamic jihadists in the heart of the Middle East, the argument goes, and then withdraw American troops.
Naturally, the libertarians who supported the war in Iraq are disappointed, though hardly shocked, that it was so badly executed. The Bush administration might be faulted, not so much for its initial errors which occur in any war against a determined foe who adjusts creatively to any preconceived central “plan,” but for its dogged refusal to alter its approach … when it became clear that its tactics were not working. …
These libertarians are still rooting for success in Iraq because it would make Americans more safe, while defeat would greatly undermine the fight against those who declared war on the U.S. They are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war–as Ron Paul does–and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.”
Update: Se også Reason Magazines artikel om Ron Paul.
Update II: 180Grader.dk har onsdag en artikel om Ron Paul.