1. I really—unlike Carl and Pete and John—don’t have anything new and profound to say about the Iraq War or Ron Paul.
2. Now that we have all these Paul-enthusiast readers, what do we do to keep them? When we said ambiguously negative things about Rand (or Randians) and Michael, we got lots of readers we soon lost when we lost interest in their heroes.
3. Well, one comment on Paul: The evidence is there that he endorsed the Lew Rockwell/Murray Rothbard strategy of allying with paleocons (meaning, in this context, redneck neoconfederates and such). That strategy was criticized by CATO, REASON MAGAZINE and other relatively mainstream libertarian groups at the time. There’s lots of evidence that Paul abandoned that strategy, although not to the extent of directly alienating those groups. It would actually help him to say he was wrong and distance himself explicitly from Rockwell.
4. Well, another: I respect a lot of the nonredneck or “traditionalist” supporters of Paul—such as many of our Porcher friends. They’re employing libertarian means to nonlibertarian ends—to be able to live as the please, home school, practice their faith as a whole way of life. Still, I don’t like their excessive anti-Americanism, which is reflected in Paul’s anti-American promiscuous anti-imperialism. This republic vs. empire riff can get tiresome in its dramatic oversimplification of the facts we can actally see. Still, the more that Paul identifies with noble or classy traditionalism, the more he can distinguish himself from slacker libertarianism of the arrogant, no-nothing young.
5. There’s a tension between letting people live as they please and the effective protection of individual rights. (See the argument on the site over the Civil War.) That fact cuts in all kinds of ways. And I, for one, have come out loud and often against the Lockeanization of every feature of American life. But I also support the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So I’m neither paleocon nor neocon, although I’m certainly as pro-American as I can be. This tension, of course, is present in how we view the Iraq War. Carl is quite judicious in seeing something good in its intention to encourage a revolutionary securing of rights while being against the naive arrogance of Bush’s “natural right” Second Inaugural. That arrogance was soon enough cured by inconvenient defeats and replaced by the more modest and achievable success of the surge. All honor to President Bush for the messy but undeniable Iraq success described by Doug Ollivant.
6. To be as offensive as possible, I’ll add for no good reason that I’m not thrilled with the Koch brothers bribing American professors etc. to teach Ayn Rand as serious literature. Some of what they’re trying to do is admirable, though.
7. At this point, someone might say that Paul and Gingrich are both doing God’s work by being so effective in exposing with negative force each other’s weaknesses. But Romney is not benefitting all that much; he’s still stuck in the twenties. The projected Santorum surge ain’t happening, and he’s pledged to drop out if he finishes as badly as the polls project in Iowa.