What Libertarians Owe Ron Paul

Jack Hunter, writing at RARE Liberty, examines how Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's 2008 and 2012 made libertarian ideas mainstream:

It’s been eight years since Ron Paul first ran for president as a Republican. It’s worth remembering today just how monumental that decision was.

One million people voted for Paul in 2008 out of about 20 million primary votes cast. That number doubled to two million in 2012. The Libertarian Party’s all-time record is Gary Johnson winning 1 million votes in 2012 out of 118 million votes cast.

For some reason, libertarianism was really popular in 2012.


There was a libertarian movement before the liberty movement, in the same way there was a conservative movement before Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. The conservative movement just mattered much less before Goldwater and Reagan. These men helped popularize conservatism. Particularly Reagan. Few conservatives would disagree.

Libertarianism mattered less before Ron Paul. He helped popularize it. He made it mainstream.

The reason the Libertarian Party is receiving more attention than it ever has before, however marginal, is because of Ron Paul. The reason there is more interest in libertarian books, figures, philosophers, institutions, and ideas is because of Paul. Most of those books, figures, philosophers, institutions, and ideas were influential and valuable before Paul’s presidential campaigns. But Paul made them all significantly more popular.

The liberty movement itself is a broad coalition of people who would not share ideas or a political identity, or even know each other in any meaningful way, if not for Ron Paul.

Most would not even be libertarians if not for Paul.

Their libertarian ideas would certainly have no popular context if not for Paul. Current national discussions about economic and monetary policy, foreign policy, education policy, civil and individual liberties, and privacy rights are now different than the conversations that would have been had before Paul’s two presidential campaigns.

Read the whole piece here.

Under Dr. Paul's leadership, Campaign for Liberty is working to grow the liberty movement and make it an even more influential force in American policy. Please join  our efforts.



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