Off The Rails

Why The Rand Paul Bandwagon Is Truly Awful For Us

The three scariest words in American politics have to be President Rand Paul. Yet those seem to be the words that keep coming to the Kentucky Senator’s mind when he looks in a mirror.

Paul is clearly mulling over a presidential bid in 2016, most recently stoking speculation at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast event. “I want to be part of the national debate,” Paul said. “Being considered [as a potential White House candidate] is something that allows me to have a larger microphone.”

Quick, someone pull the plug.

Paul has acquired a kind of cult around him for his libertarian philosophy. In particular, young people, who are a rare commodity in today’s GOP, find Paul’s get-out-of-my-home stance appealing. The amazing thing is that they often mistake Paul’s ideology for acceptance. It’s not. Paul is hardly a pro-gay politician. He is by his own words “an old-fashioned traditionalist.” He once joked that President Obama’s views on marriage “couldn’t get any gay-er,” and the comment sure didn’t sound like a compliment. He’s also said that he wants to eliminate the Department of Education so that students wouldn’t have to hear about “the idea of Suzie has two mommies.”  

These are not the comments of a man who likes us.

Instead, Paul has a single mania. Like his father, Ron Paul,  he wants to eliminate the federal government. To him, that means that the federal government shouldn’t offer anti-discrimination protections so that people can live their lives. Depending on how you ask the question, you might get an answer that seems pretty okay. Ask it the other way, though, and it’s clear the answer is not. The government shouldn’t be in the business of criminalizing marijuana? Great. The government shouldn’t be in the business of determining whether AIDS drugs are safe enough to be on the market? Not so great.

Paul is trying to package a “new libertarianism” that seems more mainstream and less crackpot. But unless your a devotee of Ayn Rand, it’s still a radical view of a society where the wealthy are rewarded and the government does nothing to protect and enable everyone else. More than almost any other politician, Paul is motivated by a unified worldview.

It’s pretty clear that there’s very limited space for us in that universe.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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  • Sohobod

    Is this an Americanism: “…your a devotee of Ayn Rand”. Surely it’s an abbreviation of “you’re”, as in “you are”.


    Very disturbing comments. Like the article said, his socially conservative viewpoints are not widely known. From what I understand, true libertarianism is actually very socially liberal.

  • jwrappaport

    Libertarianism is a vile, intellectually bankrupt enterprise whose positions fail to withstand even the slightest scrutiny. It is a house of cards built on the assumption that coercion only comes from the state and that private exploitation of the poor is synonymous with freedom. Further, that the rich Manhattanite and the starving mother of four in Calcutta are equal and uncoerced market participants.

    The world envisioned by these people is as morally ugly as it is untenable. Just read what Engels had to say about the condition of the poor in Victorian England (or Blake a generation earlier) – or how the working classes fared across the pond in our American Gilded Age. Paul’s grotesque bastardization of the word “freedom” is a poor fig leaf for private tyranny.

  • 2eo

    @jwrappaport: Take a bow JW. A more perfect assessment of Libertarianism I have never seen.

    Their numbers are VASTLY overestimated, even the students with moderate intellect see through the lies.

  • balehead

    So much hate speech from this loser…..are there laws against this?..

  • Sohobod

    And Rand Paul’s a minger. You can’t be head of a Fascist organisation without looking good. Say what you like about Oswald Mosley, but he looked like a film star.

    Shallow… me?

  • LandStander

    @Sohobod: No, it is not an “Americanism”, there really should be an apostrophe there. Though I think you knew that :-)

  • erikwm

    Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States.

  • Joetx

    Great article, John. Rand Paul is an extremist. And I let out an incredulous gasp every time I hear a young person talk about how great Rand Paul is.

  • Merv

    I would never vote for him, but Rand Paul is far less scary than Santorum or Huckabee. Not having anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people at the federal level is status quo, so also not particularly scary. I don’t see a big desire in either party to gut the FDA, so that’s not going to happen. Most importantly, I don’t think he has enough appeal to even get the nomination, with the Republican party dominated by Christian extremists.


    The USA is not 1: Christian 2: White!. Republican white Christian can be killed to. AdamHomo


    @erikwm: Erikwm, from your lips to God`s hears!. AdamHomo

  • jeff4justice

    The whole 2party system fucking sucks.

    No matter what party is in charge we get more war, poverty, pollution, and erosion of civil liberties.

    Democrats have sold out on wars, GMOs, warrantless searches, incarcerating drug users, internet privacy and bullshit intellectual property laws, cuts to the so-called social safety nets, destructive environmental policies, Gitmo, and now insider trading. Not to mention they keep dicking around on full, definitive equality.

    Yeah, the Republicans suck. But so do Democrats. And it’s a shame the LGBT mega groups and LGBT media is so narrowly focused that they never call Democrats out for they evil they do.

    You’d think in the internet age, post-Occupy/post-Tea Party era when congress has all time low ratings and more people register as “decline to state” that the stupid voters in this country could overcome the Chris Brown/Rhianna abuser/victim mentality of voting for the same incompetent parties over and over expecting different results.

    Free & Equal is at the forefront of trying to educate voters beyond the 2party system. It’s a shame that more LGBT groups aren’t joining them.

  • Billysees

    @jwrappaport: 3

    Very interestingly said.

    @2eo: 4

    Agree heartily with your praise of No 3, jwrappaport.

    @erikwm: 8

    “Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States.”

    For God’s sake, let’s hope so.

  • Caleb in SC

    People like him only have as much power as we give them. Do not invest your energy in asshats like him.

  • zrocqs

    @jeff4justice: Indeed! True, first word to last. And it’s scary how many people think that the two-party system is a Constitutional requirement.
    While I agree that Democrats suck, they suck less than the Republicans. We should support them while the GOP continues to fracture. Since Dems are becoming increasingly conservative, they might be able to become a “permanent majority” party. Then, maybe, a true liberal party can establish itself.

  • Dot Beech

    Rand Paul is awful, that’s true. But “George P. Bush” is even scarier.

    The Bush Crime Family is always, and only, a bad thing for decent people.

  • jeff4justice

    @zrocqs: Nope. It’s and endless cycle of never doing the right thing. Unprincipled voters will always get unprincipled elected officials. There’s no reason to stay stuck in fear-based voting.

  • Billysees

    I’ve noticed some unusual things over the years.

    Some of the best “Gay advances” have occurred during Republican administrations.

    That seems sort of impossible, doesn’t it ?

    I think that’s cause the truth of how good we are, marches on, no matter what.

  • Billysees

    I should have added one other sentence —

    Eventually, our friends and supporters are going to be a multitude.

  • Jawsch

    As a Kentuckian, what bothers me most about Rand Paul is that he supports and has ideas that a lot of Americans are drifting toward, that are in the center. But he’s only supporting those beliefs so that when he peddles his extremist whackjob shit, people think back to “Oh hey, maybe he’s not so bad because I agreed with him on suchandsuch” and be more likely to agree with his nonsense.

Comments are closed.