While Newt Gingrich has Nate Adelson propping up his “Super PAC,” an organization supporting Ron Paul’s bid for the Republican nomination is getting some more love from PayPal founder Peter Thiel:
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel donated another $1.7 million in January to the super PAC supporting Ron Paul’s presidential bid, according to documents released Monday.
Thiel, a billionaire who runs the hedge fund Clarium Capital, has donated a total of $2.6 million to the pro-Paul group Endorse Liberty since it was founded on Dec. 20.
He’s the largest contributor to the super PAC, which reported bringing in $2.4 million in January in addition to its late December haul of $1 million, according to the reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Thiel has described his views as libertarian and has promoted libertarian causes in the past. And While I’m familiar with Revolution PAC, Endorse Liberty PAC is new to me. They don’t have a website from what I can tell, but they’ve put together a half-dozen web ads promoting Ron Paul’s candidacy and views.
Here’s Endorse Liberty PAC’s most recent ad:
As you know, Freedom Watch, hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano, was canceled last week by Fox Business. In case you missed it, here is the “Final Word” with the Judge from the last show from Monday evening:
We received bad news yesterday as the Fox Business Channel canceled Freedom Watch, the show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano that focuses features libertarian commentary on the news and issues of the day:
FOX Business Network (FBN) will debut a new primetime schedule featuring encore presentations of the channel’s top post-market programs, announced Kevin Magee, Executive Vice President of the network. Starting February 20th at 8 PM/ET, viewers will find additional airings of The Willis Report (5PM & 8PM/ET), Cavuto (6PM & 9PM/ET) and Lou Dobbs Tonight (7PM & 10PM/ET). The new lineup will replace FreedomWatch with Judge Andrew Napolitano, Power & Money with David Asman and Follow the Money with Eric Bolling.
We look forward to Judge Napolitano, David and Eric continuing to make significant contributions to both FOX Business and FOX News. In addition to daily branded segments, each of them will be showcased throughout future programming on both networks.”
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
Although many people of differing political persuasions were involved in yesterday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA protests, the overwhelming public response marked a coming of age moment for libertarianism. It looks as though libertarianism is an idea whose time has come. Americans are fed up with centralization of power in Washington, expansion of executive power, collusion between government and some corporations, and erosion of civil liberties. Polls indicate that they are also fed up with the Democratic and Republican politicians who have pursued these policies. But if libertarians are going to provide a viable political alternative to the two-party status quo, yesterday’s protests indicate that we’re going to have to embrace at least five major changes.
1. Libertarians should shift focus to attacking corporatism. As proponents of free market economics libertarians rightly oppose socialism, which we will define very simplistically as management of the market by a labor-controlled government. Whatever the evils of socialism — and there are many — it has not been the principal opposition to free market economics in the United States. Instead, for the better part of a century we have endured a corporatist economy. Corporatism, again defined very simplistically, is management of the market by a corporate-controlled government.
In recent days, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), an outspoken fiscal conservative, has defended Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), noting that Republicans should embrace some libertarian ideas. DeMint also sees the risk many Republican take in their public criticism of Paul, who has an incredibly dedicated group of followers, many of whom are young.
This led to rumors of an endorsement yesterday on Twitter and Facebook before the all important South Carolina primary. But DeMint, keeping with a statement he made a couple of months ago, has said he will not endorse:
One of the most sought-after South Carolina politicians said Monday he would not endorse a candidate ahead of the Palmetto State’s primary.
Sen. Jim DeMint, who has offered praise to all of the candidates in the field, said in a statement, “I do not have a favorite in this race and I will not endorse a candidate.”
DeMint said his stance reflected the view of many voters in South Carolina.
“I’ve gotten to know each of the candidates over the past year and they are all far superior to Obama,” DeMint said. “My view reflects what I’ve heard from Republican voters across South Carolina who remain divided in this race.”
DeMint would have been a big get for any candidate in the GOP field, given his high regard among conservative voters. Many of the contenders have met with the senator in person, looking to gain his backing.
As we head into the South Carolina primary where former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum may still have a shot at the GOP nomination, it’s worth recalling what Sen. Santorum had to say about libertarians and others who favor limited government during an interview with NPR in August 2005:
One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.
This has rightly riled many libertarians, who insist that the “radical individualism” derided by Santorum was the basis for the American experiment. But libertarians should really be thanking Rick Santorum. He’s provided us with a valuable reminder that far from being a limited government ally of libertarianism, traditional conservatism is actually inimical to libertarian principles. Traditional conservatism was America’s first statist, big government ideology.
Like many in both the conservative and libertarian camps, I count myself a fan of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. His no-nonsense style and willingness to take on entrenched interests have won him many admirers. Yet one area where Christie and I diverge quite starkly is on the issues of gay marriage and drugs. On these issues, Christie veers to the social conservative side whereas myself and other libertarians are more moderate.
Christie, however, will soon have a chance to let us all know whether he will continue to express opposition towards equal recognition of gay marriage, or if he will let New Jersey join the small but growing number of states that have allowed gays the same rights and privileges as straights. In the upcoming session of the Garden State’s legislature Democratic leaders will once again introduce a gay marriage bill. As of yet, it is uncertain what Christie will do. He previously promised to veto such a law, but that was two years ago and prior to New York’s historic actions last year.
As a native of New Jersey and a current resident of neighboring Pennsylvania, I’ll be watching this process closely. In my mind, it will signal whether, in just a matter of years, the political winds have changed enough that Christie will choose to support gay marriage equality. It is certainly my hope that Christie will come to the realization that allowing gays the freedom to marry will harm no one and enrich the lives of LGBT New Jerseyans and their friends.
Over the last few weeks, Rick Santorum has made it increasingly clear that he is not a libertarian. We already knew this. Last summer, Santorum expressed concern about libertarian influence inside the Republican Party, not just in terms of our views on social issues, but he seems to have rejected economic views in the Tea Party movement:
Without question, Santorum’s record is one of supporting big government. As noted last week, he likes to knock others on entitlements, but never seems to own up to his own support for expanding them. Others in the conservative movement are noting Santorum’s backing for increased government power in the economy.
Much has been made in recent days about the newsletters that were written in Ron Paul’s name some 20 years ago. A few of us here have weighed in on the controversy, and you’ve no doubt seen it on other blogs; some believing Paul’s explantion of the events, others using it as yet another opportunity to criticize him.
As I recently noted, I plan on voting for Ron Paul in the March 6th primary in my home state of Georgia. However, I also made mention of some issues I have with him, though I only mentioned his love of earmarks. Another point that was in the back of my mind when I wrote that post was the newsletters.
Personally, I don’t believe Paul wrote the newsletters. Did he know about their content? I think that is debatable. Do I believe that Paul is a racist or anti-gay? Absolutely not. As he has so frequently said, though he is borrowing from Ayn Rand, to be a racist is to view people as groups, not individuals; and that is anathema to the libertarian viewpoint. Paul also voted to get rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prevented gays from serving openly in the military.
Nevertheless, this controversy has again caused somewhat of a headache for libertarians since the man who is largely carrying our mantle is being cast as a racist — or, at the very least, someone who associates with them. Steve Horwitz explains the dilemma: