I recently finished Ron Paul’s newest book, Liberty Defined. I’ll write a review of it soon, and will probably have a lot more to say about some his views and other political matters as the 2012 presidential campaigns start gearing up.
Today, though, I’ve been catching up on some conversation that has surrounded his defense of the legalization of drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage; or, rather, his opposition to their prohibition. While he fleshes these topics out more fully in his book (which I recommend you read whether you tend to agree with libertarianism or not), here is a short clip from last week’s Republican debate in South Carolina:
(For more, here is a longer clip containing all of Paul’s segments in the debate.)
Earlier this week, Michael Gerson wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post (Ron Paul’s Land of Second-Rate Values) which was very critical of Dr. Paul. This article has stirred up a bit of controversy. It has been applauded by noted Christian conservatives such as Denny Burk (who wrote that he “couldn’t agree more” with Gerson), though Paul himself has accused Gerson of misrepresenting his views (Paul’s exact quote via his Facebook page: “When a noted Neo-Conservative like Michael Gerson feels the need to attack me and distort my positions in the Washington Post, you know the establishment is scared we can win!“). Incidentally, having now read Dr. Paul’s book, I would agree that Gerson is guilty of — at best — overly simplifying Paul’s position.
Perhaps a more reasoned response is that of Douglas Wilson, who acknowledges that Ron Paul is weak in some regards and mistaken in others, but argues that the particular problem that many people have with Paul’s stance on drugs is relatively insignificant next to the government’s abuse of power and the populace’s addiction to “other people’s money”. It’s a fascinating discussion in the world of conservative politics, and I look forward to seeing these ideas debated further in the coming year. I’ll have plenty of my own thoughts on the matter to share, but I’ll save those for another time.