Did anybody notice that an ex-doctor named Paul just won the Republican senatorial primary in Kentucky? No, not Ron: his son, Rand (yes, named after you-know-who). So now there are two Libertarians named Paul working in politics under the Republican imprimatur. Libertarians who actually want to get elected usually do run as Republicans, because the Libertarian Party itself is a political debating society that doesn't know how to play politics, and doesn't do jacksh!t to get its candidates elected or even on the ballot. The Republican Party doesn't really like Libertarians, but is desperate enough to take them on. I wish Rand Paul, and his father, lots of luck.
The really interesting part is how the mainstream media (which carefully blacked out Ron Paul's campaign in the 2008 election), did its best to paint Rand Paul as a "racist" (the catch-all accusation these days, like "communist" in the '50s). IIRC, 'twas NBC that claimed Rand Paul wanted to repeal the Civil Rights Act -- even though he himself clearly said otherwise. The funny part is that within hours of NBC's claim there were videos up on YouTube showing Rand Paul's real statements, and comments by Black entertainers stoutly defending him. And a few hours after that, Rand Paul won the primary.
This reveals the growing influence of the Internet as a widespread news source, the almost desperate bias of the mainstream media, and the growth of the grassroots Libertarian movement which has both the media and the federal administration so worried.
It's also an eerie parallel to something that happened back in the '60s and '70s, when another grassroots movement took off. Back then it was the anti-Vietnam War movement, which collected such a galaxy of other pro-freedom causes around it: Civil Rights, Women's Lib, Gay Lib, and the whole Counterculture. The mainstream media then did the exact same things: first carefully ignored the Hippies, then slandered them. The Hippies responded with the "underground press", which was slower and less efficient than the Internet is today, but was adequate for getting the real news out to millions of people. The descendants of those underground press papers exist today, alas, in a decadent form: those "entertainment" papers -- like the NEW TIMES -- now staffed by bourgeois Parlor Pinks who moo patronizingly over "little brown people" and lie shamelessly about the immigration problem, any outbreak of the Libertarian movement, and anyone who proposes reducing our bloated government. Let's hope the Internet doesn't follow in their footsteps.
More to the point are the dirty tricks used by other political groups back then. The FBI did its best to infiltrate the "New Left" organizations and "CoIntelPro"/provocateer them. The Democrats sent hopeful candidates out to woo them. The Marxists infiltrated them and steered them (much to the FBI's delight) into crazy and clearly Communist positions. Between them, the Marxists and the FBI succeeded in bringing down the New Left and making the Hippies look obsolete -- but not before the New Left/Counterculture had managed to achieve a few things: ending the Vietnam War, getting voting-age reduced to draft-age, establishing the rights of Blacks, women and Gays. When the wave of '60s/'70s activism slid back down the beach, it left some permanent fixtures behind. (One of those was the Libertarian movement, which began in the late '60s and has been growing slowly but steadily ever since.)
And I'm seeing parallels to that now. When the Libertarian movement grew too big for the media to ignore (Ron Paul's candidacy, the Tea Party, the Downsize DC organizations), not only did the mainstream media start vigorously denouncing/slandering it, but the political opportunists moved in. Go to, say, any Tea Party rally and you'll find: provocateurs hanging around the edges waving badly-spelled signs with Nazi emblems and slogans, Republican candidates lying merrily as they woo votes, and Conservatives infiltrating and trying to take over.
Comparing this with the history of the '70s, I'd say that the Conservatives are the biggest threat. If they take over the grassroots Libertarian movement, they'll drag it down to ruin as surely as the Marxists did the New Left. There are ways to counter their tactics and keep them out (which also work well on the provocateurs, by the way), but first your Libertarian organization has to be able to identify them.
This isn't easy, since a lot of Conservative policies look, on the surface, much like Libertarian ones: reduced government, encouraging the growth of small businesses, encouraging the private sector to take up a lot of the services of government, and support of individual rights and responsibilities. It's only when you look deeper that the differences appear -- and by then your Conservative infiltrator may have already done damage, just as the Marxist infiltrators did back then.
For the sake of the public safety, I'll point out here what the big difference is; Conservatives are secretly addicted to their old religious, racial, class and sexual bigotries. Examples: Libertarians want religion kept out of public business, while Conservatives want laws to support their own particular religion. Libertarians consider labor unions to be "voluntary associations" and the "natural" check and balance on management, while Conservatives think they're all Corrupt and Evil. Libertarians could care less about anyone's race or ethnicity, while Conservatives (though they'll never say it in public) want "those people" kept at a safe and powerless distance. Libertarians consider everybody's sexuality to be their own business, completely neutral to law, while Conservatives will snarl about "disgusting perverts" and wail for laws to support "morality".
The simplest tactic I can think of is to bar anyone from Tea Party etc. meetings and rallies (as much as possible, anyway) who answers the wrong way on this one simple question: "What's your opinion of Gay Marriage?"
How will that work? Simple. A Libertarian will either shrug and say: "Let them marry if they want", or stand up on the nearest soapbox-equivalent and denounce government involvement in private contracts. A Conservative will either stammer and fumble and come up with laughably thin excuses about why Gays shouldn't marry, or else stand up at the nearest pulpit-equivalent and denounce Gays as "perverted", "immoral", "sick", etc. and claim that marriage is a "sacrament". That's how you can tell them apart.
I wonder how different the world would be today if the New Left/Counterculture had come up with a similar filtering system 'way back then.
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(