<< ARI Watch
Yaron Brook vs. Ron Paul
“The erosion of our personal liberties started long before 9/11, but 9/11 accelerated the process. There are many things that motivate those who pursue this course, both well-intentioned and malevolent, but it would not happen if the people remained vigilant, understood the importance of individual rights, and were unpersuaded that a need for security justifies the sacrifice of liberty, even if it is just now and then. The true patriot challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual.”– Ron Paul, rep.
“The government is filled with nanny-staters and do-gooders who like to expand the power of the government and who like to exercise their authority over us. I think in the case of some of them they really think they are making our lives better, I think in the case of others it’s what St. Augustine called Libido Dominandi, the lust to dominate. Very few people are like Ron Paul who when they campaign for office say if elected I'm going to do my best to shrink the government, and then when they get elected they do their best to shrink the government.”– Andrew Napolitano, ret. judge
“I just hope Ron Paul goes away.”– Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute
Mallory Factor 1 · Amy Peikoff · Mallory Factor 2 · Chicago · Ayn Rand · Leonard Peikoff
There are some good reasons not to like Ron Paul. His opposition to Third World immigration is wobbly, and though he fights the legalized theft and coercion that is fascism, he seems unaware of the corruption within the U.S. Department of Justice which is its principle facilitator. 
A non-atheist can never be a thoroughgoing Objectivist but we should not count Ron Paul’s Christianity as a reason not to like him. Few professed Christians are the otherworldly Nazis of Leonard Peikoff’s perfervid imagination. Ron Paul keeps his religion out of politics just as Sam Walton (1918 - 1992), founder of the Walmart chain and a Presbyterian, kept his out of his stores. (Are Christmas trees all right ?) Most people would be hard pressed to even discover what religion Ron Paul has, if any.
Nor should we include Ron Paul’s position on abortion: letting each state determine if protoplasm is a person or not. It’s unfortunate, but as a practical matter irrelevant. Anti-choice is an idea whose time has gone. Most of the public is pro-choice. As long as one pro-choice state exists – and there would be several – abortion is not much of an issue. Freedom is a bus ride away. Roundtrip plane fare to a pro-choice state would cost less than a doctor’s appointment. 
The question “What would Ayn Rand do?” is often heard in Objectivist circles. Barry Goldwater had the same “states rights” position on choice as Ron Paul has, yet Ayn Rand still supported Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election. A year before the election she asked her readers (“A Suggestion” The Objectivist Newsletter October 1963) to register Republican, if not already, so they could vote for Goldwater in the Republican primaries, saying:
As we shall see, by March 1964 she thought Goldwater had indeed become very much worth supporting. She was right. “States rights” on abortion should not be a deal breaker for Objectivists. 
“In today’s state of political confusion and contradictions, it is difficult to endorse any candidate with any degree of certainty. All one can say is that it appears, at present, that Senator Goldwater may become very much worth supporting ... most particularly because he seems to be our last chance to preserve two-party government.
“... At present, he is the best candidate in the field.”
On practically every other political issue Ron Paul is consistent with what an authentic Objectivist would want. It should come as no surprise that he has read and admires Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal and Atlas Shrugged  or that he has referenced Ayn Rand at least half a dozen times on the House floor, including commemorating the 100th anniversary of her birth. He may be shaky on the ethics of altruism in personal affairs, but he never applies altruism to the relation between the individual and the state. Though not perfect philosophically, though not the best possible candidate imaginable, if you insist on John Galt for president you will be sitting on the bench while a police state takes over America. As the saying goes: The perfect is (or can be) the enemy of the good.
Setting aside Ron Paul’s politics, the man himself is sincere, genuine. He means what he says rather than groping to say what you want to hear, changing with the times and the audience. Besides sincerity, he has the backbone to keep saying his piece in the face of smear after smear. The Republican candidates were first whittled down to Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, and then to Mitt Romney, a man with the sincerity of Elmer Gantry.
In 2008 Obama promised change and we got the somewhat muted equivalent of his predecessor. Romney chose a boatload of neoconservatives as his advisors.  In a contest between these two no matter which had won we would have gotten another helping of evil.
Giving up makes the prediction of losing a self-fulfilling prophesy. Ron Paul did not reach the election but his fighting to the end at the Republican convention helped lay the groundwork for the future victory of a likeminded candidate. His effort helps build a political movement – what his supporters call “The Revolution” – a movement that will continue to grow. Though Ron Paul lost the Republican nomination – largely through GOP shenanigans – he and the Robert Taft Republicanism he represents is not going away. 
Welfare and warfare liabilities threaten to crush the American middle class. The police state infrastructure sprouts new growths almost monthly (only the TSA is visible to the general public at this time). The main battle may be philosophical, and it may be too soon to expect a thoroughgoing Objectivst in the White House, but if the fascist trend is not stopped soon, before complete censorship is imposed, it’s game over. There is no time to waste. The victory of Ron Paul or someone like him will at least give us time to recoup.
There was only one issue in the presidential race: individual rights versus dictatorship. Judging from deeds and words Ron Paul was on the side of individual rights more consistently than any statesman so far in our lifetime – and “statesman” is more descriptive of Ron Paul than “politician.” Both Obama and Romney were both on the side of the welfare/warfare state that is rapidly leading to dictatorship.
With this dramatic backdrop, what did the Ayn Rand Institute have to say about Ron Paul’s candidacy? Legally ARI writers are forbidden from endorsing a candidate through ARI, the organization being a non-profit,  but they are allowed to express an opinion personally. Here we focus on Yaron Brook, the president of ARI. What did he have to say about Ron Paul?
At first, not much. When Mallory Factor  interviewed Mr. Brook on September 20, 2011 for the website The Street – the title of the interview was “What Would Ayn Rand Do?” – this exchange occurred:
Mallory Factor: Then Mr. Factor, perhaps realizing this mental fumbling isn’t going anywhere, interrupts and changes the subject. Somewhere during the interview Mr. Brook said “What the U.S. economy ... needs is freedom and liberty.” yet he never mentioned the one candidate working to provide such freedom and liberty.
Would Ayn Rand pick a presidential candidate of anybody out there in politics today? ...
... You know I, none of the candidates, I don’t, I can’t imagine any of the declared candidates
Amy Peikoff, divorced from Leonard Peikoff, runs a blog she calls “Don’t Let It Go.” The name mimics the title of one of Ayn Rand’s essays, like a mock apple pie with sawdust inside. The blog features a regular podcast called “Don’t Let It Go ... Unheard” (ellipsis hers). On July 17, 2011 Ms. Peikoff interviewed Mr. Brook. About halfway through, in response to a listener’s question, he addresses the candidacy of Ron Paul. The next day someone posted that part on YouTube, with a political cartoon displayed throughout the audio. The cartoon depicts a man kneeling in the desert, bent over with his neck coming out of the sand, rump in the air. To the left a sign saying “Ron Paul” points to the man, while above him floats the neologism “OSTRICHISM.” In the lower right corner you see the proud signature of Bosch Fawstin. 
A few excerpts from Mr. Brook’s remarks follow, transcribed without his false starts, stuttered phrases, you knows, uhs and other disfluencies. As one has come to expect from ARI people Mr. Brook begins by smearing and misrepresenting the America First foreign policy:
Apparently “they hate us because we’re free” is within the pale, as is the fact that this nonsense is used to take away our freedom. 
“I find [Ron Paul’s] position on foreign policy, of blame America for everything, kind of an anarchist, anti-state, anti-America on foreign policy that I think Ron Paul manifests, I think is beyond the pale.”
Then Mr. Brook gets to his main point: Ron Paul makes free markets look bad.
A barefaced lie, as anyone familiar with Ron Paul’s work knows.
“Ron Paul, for a variety of reasons, partially because I think he is very inarticulate but also because I think that his pro-free market agenda is driven by a fundamental hatred of government, not a love of individual rights, so it’s driven by a negative, this anarchistic libertarian – not all libertarians are like this but some do and Ron Paul I think certainly does – dislike of government, any kind of government.”
What Ron Paul says is not very complicated. Mr. Brook would understand it if he wanted to understand. To be anti a government that violates individual rights, the free market etc, because it violates them, is to be pro individual rights, the free market etc.
“I think that he would discredit free markets if he got elected, and indeed I think he does today in his candidacy.”
If you are for individual rights – and are sincere about it – you will oppose their violation, especially by government.
Mr. Brook then claims that Ron Paul’s effort to end the Federal Reserve is ineffectual, but does not explain why unless what comes next is his explanation: Mr. Brook says that support for Ron Paul “is much more likely to be from the radical left than from real free market types.” But of course it is just the reverse. Ron Paul himself is a free market type. True, some leftists – though not extreme ones – support Ron Paul, and that is their contradiction not his. (Their contradiction: slavery for businessmen, freedom for everyone else.) [10a] In any case you don’t judge someone by their alleged admirers. Take the Ayn Rand Institute —
— and Ayn Rand. OK, Froggy, that’s enough. Mr. Brook continues:
Mr. Brook carries on in the above vein, saying that a proper candidate needn’t be an Objectivist (true, we would say) but “they have to have an appreciation for what individual rights mean [as if Ron Paul doesn’t], and they have to be pro limited government [as if Ron Paul weren’t] and not pro anarchy [as if Ron Paul was].” Regarding Ron Paul and his ilk:
“I just don’t think he comes across as a credible person, as a person who really understands and believes in what it means to be an American, what the Founding Fathers really intended, what the original purpose of this country is. I don’t think he understands the concept of individual rights, I don’t think he has a clue about it.”
I interrupt. Mr. Brook accuses Ron Paul of precisely what Mr. Brook himself is doing. Mr. Brook and his associates at the Ayn Rand Institute use the reputation and phraseology of Objectivism to promote neoconservative policies (even as they nominally denounce neoconservatism) and this perversion of Ayn Rand’s philosophy confuses those interested in it.
“... if somehow they got elected, it would put our struggle decades backwards because they would be so, they’d make such a hash and mess of it that it would take us forever to differentiate ourselves from them and to explain to people that we’re better, and we’re not like that, and we’re actually good and so on,
— so I just hope Ron Paul goes away, because I think he discredits the pro capitalist, pro individual rights view out there. He really doesn’t understand. The key issue – anybody advocating for a so-called libertarian position – the key issue is individual rights, do they get individual rights.”
Here Ms. Peikoff, who has kept quiet, chimes in: “Yes ... he is more anti government than he is pro individual rights.” Like Mr. Brook, she won’t allow herself to realize that to be anti the government that violates individual rights because it violates them is to be pro individual rights. People who really are pro individual rights will oppose their violation. Mr. Brook then admits – and it being the first time “again” is out of place:
Indeed he cannot !
“Again I can’t cite a particular quote of his —
Issues like welfare and fascism and war ? Mr. Brook concludes by saying that another reason to oppose Ron Paul is that he is a friend of Lew Rockwell. One gathers that that really nails Paul to the wall.
— but it’s just the way he presents himself, the issues he deals with.”
In the comments section of Ms. Peikoff’s blog only one negative comment appears, by Craig Spencer. Here is part of it:
I wouldn’t bother applying to the Objectivist Academic Center anytime soon if I were you, Craig.
“It is simply false, and very unjust, to charge [Ron Paul] with not being an advocate of individual rights. In fact, upholding individual rights is, perhaps, his most frequent and conspicuous and intransigent position.
“Paul may not express his support for a free society in the principled Objectivist terms that I would prefer and he certainly has many other lamentable defects ... nevertheless, he is qualitatively superior to any other contemporary politician. ... With Paul, at least, the issues that do matter would be on the table.”
We emphasize that Ron Paul is not above criticism but Mr. Brook places him beneath contempt, and utters a raft of lies to get him there.
There are scores of Ron Paul speeches from which one could quote to refute Mr. Brook. A speech he gave on the House floor March 6, 1997 will do as well as any. Recall that the growth of the “anti-terrorist” police state began immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. “Anti-terrorist” legislation that had been written before the bombing afterwards sailed through Congress. Ron Paul begins by saying he will address:
“... the rising police state and the attack on our personal civil liberties. ... centralizing powers and consistently expanding the role of government require an army of bureaucrats and a taxing authority upon which a police state thrives.”
“... this is not the right direction to go and ... many Americans are sincerely concerned about the power and the authority of the Federal Government. This [power] has not been our tradition. This is not part of our Constitution.
“... my solution ... comes in thinking about the philosophy of government. If we do it just in a technical fashion and think that all we have to do is have a line item veto or have revenue scoring or have a balanced budget amendment, I think we are missing the whole point ... it is a much bigger issue. I think it is a philosophic issue, not a technical or budgetary issue ...
“The decision that we as Members of Congress have to make is whether or not government should have the power and the authority to do what they do. ... does the Federal Government really have the power and the authority under our constitutional system of law to do as much as they are [or rather, it is] doing? ... I ... believe that we here in the Congress do not have the authority that we have exerted here over the last several decades.
“... my personal philosophy ... conforms with what I believe the Founders believed ... Government should be there for the protection of liberty. We should not concede to the Government the right and the power and the authority to use it [that is, its power] in order to bring about social and economic changes.”
Yaron Brook would have you believe this means Ron Paul is anti-government, that Ron Paul is an anarchist, that Ron Paul makes free markets look bad.
Mr. Brook illustrates honesty, justice, integrity in action ? He brings reason to every aspect of his life ? These are Objectivist virtues according to Mr. Brook.
... Folks, I saw him type “this flaming hypocrite” then change it to “Mr. Brook.”
I thought it sounded intemperate at this point, Froggy.
... I kinda liked “flaming hypocrite.” You’d better —
Froggy, I’m writing this article not you. Now please don’t interrupt.
By the time Mallory Factor interviewed Mr. Brook again, February 28, 2012, Ron Paul had become hard to ignore given his success at garnering delegates. The interview is entitled “What if Ron Paul is Anti-Government?” Here is a transcript of the video published on The Street website. 
Mallory Factor: Now you’re an Objectivist, or some people say a Randian. Most people consider that part of the libertarian movement. Ron Paul is considered a libertarian. —
Yaron Brook: [interrupting] Yeah.
MF: You love him don’t you?
YB: [emphatic] I don’t love Ron Paul.
MF: Why not?
YB: I get harassed to no end over this.
MF: [incredulous] Why not, how could you not?
YB: I don’t for a number of reasons. One, I just find him inarticulate. And I don’t find him a very good champion for the cause.
MF: Fine, let’s put that aside. —
YB: [over-talking] Two. I disagree with his foreign policy. [At this point the published recording skips ahead in the interview.] There’s something about Ron Paul that strikes me, that underneath he’s anti-business and particularly anti-banking, and not just in the crony sense but in the more fundamental sense. And I can’t completely prove this, it’s more a sense that I get from him. But for example many of his answers on domestic issues, the trail end of his answer will be: [raises voice] “And those bad big businesses and Wall Street types” right. And he doesn’t say crony business and he doesn’t say crony Wall Street, he just says business. And I think he comes from a libertarian tradition that is on the anarchist side of the spectrum. I think his intellectual roots are Rothbard and Lew Rockwell. —
MF: [over-talking to explain who they are]
YB: Murray Rothbard the economist and Lew Rockwell who runs the von Mises Institute. And I think they hold fundamentally anarchist anti-government and a hatred of government but also a hatred of big business. And I think that Ron Paul is infected by that and I think it’s unfortunate because what we really need is somebody with real free-market ideas – now he doesn’t have to be an Objectivist – somebody with real free-market ideas who’s articulate and passionate, who can actually make the case for capitalism up there among the candidates, that would be terrific.
OK, I think I’ve got it. Ron Paul is an inarticulate anarchist who hates businessmen, therefore we ought to prefer as president either Romney or Obama.
Can we find an excuse for Mr. Brook? In a just society the government would be so small compared with today that it would look a lot like anarchy – but obviously that is not what Mr. Brook means.
Mr. Brook grossly misrepresents the views of Ron Paul. In Ron Paul’s many speeches, interviews and articles he makes no complaint against business per se. When he speaks out against bank bailouts or the Federal Reserve, he opposes not banks but the collusion of government and banks.
Ron Paul at the GOP primary debate held in Rochester, Michigan on November 9, 2011: 
Despite that speech and scores – hundreds – of other of Ron Paul’s pro (honest) business speeches, Mr. Brook claims Ron Paul opposes (real) capitalism. As we have seen, Mr. Brook has a cover story: “I can’t completely prove this, it’s more a sense that I get from him.” In fact, because Mr. Brook’s claim is entirely false he cannot prove it at all. His “sense” is wishful thinking and his purpose is to make Ron Paul look bad among Objectivists.
“But there is a lot of crony capitalism going on in this country. And that has to be distinguished from real capitalism, because this ‘Occupation’ stuff on Wall Street. If you’re going after crony capitalism, I’m all for it. Those are the people who benefit from contracts from government, benefits from the Federal Reserve, benefits from all the bailouts. ... They deserve to have all their benefits removed. But crony capitalism isn’t when somebody makes money and they produce a product. That is very important, we have to distinguish the two, and unfortunately I think some people mix that.”
You have to wonder how stupid he thinks they are.
When it comes to Ron Paul Mr. Brook doesn’t merely misunderstand, he willfully misunderstands. His deceit is all the more exasperating because he seems to believe his own lies. He’s a very good liar ! Glib, enthusiastic – and a complete fraud.-oOo-
Mr. Brook claims to oppose the Federal Reserve, yet when a presidential candidate comes along who would phase out the Federal Reserve, Mr. Brook happens not to like that candidate. Mr. Brook claims to oppose welfare, yet when a presidential candidate comes along with a detailed plan to lop a trillion dollars off the federal budget his first year in office, Mr. Brook happens not to like that candidate. Mr. Brook claims to oppose ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, yet when a presidential candidate comes along who would get Congress to rescind those acts, Mr. Brook happens not to like him.
Mr. Brook claims to have opposed the Iraq War – another of his “how stupid the rubes are” because he promoted it assiduously – yet when a candidate comes along who really did oppose that war, Mr. Brook happens not to like that candidate. Mr. Brook claims to love America, yet when a man comes along who would adhere to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, Mr. Brook happens not to like that man. Mr. Brook claims to hate neoconservatism – another act for the rubes because he promotes a Who’s Who of them  – yet when a man comes along who roundly denounces neoconservatism, Mr. Brook happens to hate that man.
The EPA, Social Security, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, socialized medicine – Mr. Brook hates the man who sincerely opposes these and other big government programs, even when the Republican nomination had come to a choice between that man and a big-government hack from Plastic City.
And Mr. Brook complains he gets harassed about this ?
Here is what Mr. Brook and the other writers at the so-called “Ayn Rand Institute” and its so-called “Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights” have said about the so-called “Patriot Act”:[This space intentionally left blank.]Ron Paul voted against the Patriot Act and has repeatedly denounced it in detail. 
Here is what the official ARI has to say about the TSA:[This space intentionally left blank.](After nearly a decade of the TSA, Misters Brook and Peikoff denounced the TSA in an obscure podcast preaching to the choir on Leonard Peikoff’s website, then used the topic to advocate more bombing in the Middle East.) Ron Paul has been outspoken against the TSA from the start and would have abolished it as president. If there was just one reason to support Ron Paul that was it.
Here is everything ARI has said about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012:[This space intentionally left blank.]Ron Paul voted against NDAA and has repeatedly denounced it in detail.
The War on Drugs, the Military Commissions Act, the Real ID Act, the federalization of local police departments – the response from ARI:[This space intentionally left blank.]
And so on. The Ayn Rand Institute and its Center for Individual rights cannot be bothered with individual rights. How wonderful the commercialization of Christmas is, yes. How marvelous Israel is, yes. What a fine thing Thanksgiving Day is, yes. I like Christmas and Thanksgiving too, but the burgeoning apparatus of a U.S. police state is more important and yet pretty much off ARI / ARC’s radar.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly: When these people praise individual rights, private property, reason, the Enlightenment, the Founders, all the good things, they don’t really mean it. If a value is what you act to gain or keep, they do not value what in generalities they claim to value. When it comes to concretes, to particulars, watch out.-oOo-
March 28, a few weeks after the second Mallory Factor interview above, the ARC Chicago Speaker Series sponsored a debate between Mr. Brook and David Callahan on the size and scope of government. The debate question was: “Is Government the Problem or the Solution?” Considering Mr. Brook’s previous statements about Ron Paul —
... He said it is the solution.
Well, Froggy, let’s see what he said. I won’t quote much of it, just some snippets in the middle.
“Let’s look at the last sixty years. Post World War Two government shrinks dramatically ... the economy booms in the late 40s ... it booms into the 50s, then government starts growing again in the 60s dramatically ... we get 15 years, 16 years of basically stagnation ... because government has grown too big and it’s gone out of control ... and the remedy for that ... massive deregulation ... the economy does better under those conditions, when you get government out of the equation the economy does very well, but then of course the government grows again ... massive regulation ... we get a big financial crisis. ... So I would argue, when we allow a little bit of freedom for the market place ... when we deregulate ... we get huge successes ... good stuff happens. When government gets out of control, bad things happen ...”
... Oh my God, an anarchist !
Are you being sarcastic, Froggy ?
... He’s a flaming hypocrite is what he is.
OK, you have said it. Mr. Brook puts on a good show of believing what the man he denounces believes.
The question then is: Why his headlong flight from reality regarding Ron Paul? What is the reason, the real reason, Mr. Brook and the other ARI-objectivists oppose Ron Paul?
Given the facts about ARI described elsewhere on this website the answer is pretty obvious. They hate Ron Paul because he opposes foreign aid, in particular to the Middle East, in particular to Israel – Israel the alpha and omega – in particular useless, sacrificial wars.  Such opposition is a real deal breaker for a neocon.
Then our question becomes: Why does Mr. Brook present Ron Paul in the particular terms he does? The following is worth reading again:
All that is false and unjust to the point of absurdity, a string of untruths. How on earth does Mr. Brook’s mind work? Who knows, but I shall hazard a few guesses.
“I ... don’t think he comes across as ... a person who really understands and believes in what it means to be an American, what the Founding Fathers really intended, what the original purpose of this country is. I don’t think he understands the concept of individual rights, I don’t think he has a clue about it.”
As we have seen in This is Our Ally? ARI people see Israel as part of America, indeed the better part. If you don’t want to sacrifice yourself to the self-styled “Jewish state” then you are un-American, unpatriotic, don’t really understand the Founders. Of course ARI doesn’t call your donation to Israel (via the IRS or monetary inflation) a sacrifice. You are an American, Israel is America, therefore it is in your interest. 
So there could be a twisted logic to Mr. Brook’s statements, though the above might be a subconscious undercurrent rather than something he would ever think or say.
For those who find it hard to believe Mr. Brook is that twisted here is another guess. Neocons hold the middle class in such contempt that they think nothing of lying to them in order to get what they want.  Mutatis mutandis, perhaps, for Objectivists in the inner circle – they are very similar to neocons anyway. Mr. Brook starts with his love for Israel and consequent hatred of Ron Paul. Then the problem for him is: how to get the Objectivist “middle class” to hate Ron Paul too. Making Israel the centerpiece of his argument would be too obvious, so he casts about for positions an Objectivist would hate, then pins them on Ron Paul. Thus he makes Ron Paul out as a bizarre combination of leftist and anarchist and pacifist, a man who hates businessmen and free-markets and banks, a man who is a discredit to the idea capitalism. How could an Objectivist tolerate such a creature?
If that scenario is correct, Mr. Brook’s statements are not due to a slovenly disregard for the truth but rather to conscious deceit.
But it is hard to believe Mr. Brook would think he could get away with it, so here is my third and final guess. As in the machiavellian scenario above Mr. Brook wants to trash Ron Paul, but there is no conscious deceit on Mr. Brook’s part. Wishful thinking benights his judgement and he truly believes what he says. He wishes Ron Paul had no clue what individual rights really mean, then the pesky man would be out of his intellectual hair, so Ron Paul has no clue. In a word, Mr. Brook’s problem is evasion. He sees Ron Paul the way he wants him to be instead of the way he is.
Whatever. These are just guesses and only Mr. Brook knows for sure – assuming he is capable of introspection – what goes on behind his oratorical performances. In any case a craziness can only be explained in terms of another craziness. It’s enough to point out that Mr. Brook and his “Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights,” with a budget of millions, completely ignores “The Revolution.” At the end of the day this intellectual scoundrel will be remembered for:
“... I just hope Ron Paul goes away ...”
Here is Ayn Rand writing about Americans and their sense of life in her essay “Don’t Let It Go” (The Ayn Rand Letter, December 6, 1971):
Today we face an extended threat: Perpetual War, Conquest by Third World Immigration, the Police State, the Welfare State (including war profiteers), and – to use a term meaning government favors to colluding businesses – the Corporate State. In a word, the Fascist State. America might now be near the tipping point in its history, the point where if the legal structure and popular culture of America get much worse, where if we go much further down the road to fascism, we will lose even the possibility of getting back. Ron Paul – and more importantly the movement he represents, a movement which will grow beyond the election of 2012 – was the best thing in sight politically for turning America around before the point of no return.
“Can this country achieve a peaceful rebirth in the foreseeable future? By all precedents, it is not likely. But America is an unprecedented phenomenon. In the past, American perseverance became, on occasion, too long-bearing a patience. But when Americans turned, they turned
. What may happen to the Welfare State is what happened to the Prohibition Amendment.”
Ron Paul is not the leader but the lightning rod of “The Revolution.” Despite his flaws he makes a good spokesman around which men of goodwill can rally. Again we are reminded of Barry Goldwater’s run for president in 1964. As Ayn Rand desired, Goldwater won the Republican nomination. Soon after, she wrote the following in “How to Judge a Political Candidate” (The Objectivist Newsletter March 1964) except Froggy told me to replace “Barry Goldwater” with a fill-in-the-blank:
“If a candidate evades, equivocates and hides his stand under a junk-heap of random concretes, we must add up those concretes and judge him accordingly. If his stand is mixed, we must evaluate it by asking: Will he protect freedom or destroy the last of it? Will he accelerate, delay or stop the march toward statism?
“By this standard, one can see why ____________ is the best candidate in the field today. ...
“In an age of moral collapse, like the present, men who seek power for power’s sake rise to leadership everywhere on earth and destroy one country after another. ____________ is singularly devoid of power lust. Even his antagonists admit it with grudging respect. He is seeking, not to rule, but to liberate a [that is, our] country.
“In a world ravaged by dictatorships, can we afford to pass up a candidate of that kind?” 
Ron Paul did not arrive on the national scene until 1988, six years after Ayn Rand’s death, but if she were with us today I can well imagine her writing something like the above about Ron Paul, who was more consistent in the defense of individual rights than Goldwater ever was, and unlike Goldwater had the backbone to stick to his ideological guns in a battle. With the knowledge of recent events she might make “the march toward statism” more specific, say “the march toward fascism” or “the march toward a police state.” As for Ron Paul’s antagonists admitting he is without power lust or respecting him for it – or even thinking it a virtue – obviously that would have to go.
Yaron Brook and everyone else at the so-called Ayn Rand Institute passed up Ron Paul, as did most of the electorate. What Ayn Rand said about the prospect of Goldwater’s defeat in 1964 (he won the nomination but lost the election, disastrously) is applicable here:
“... if he loses disastrously, well that means the battle is much longer than we thought. If he loses by a small margin, that may be the best that we can hope for. Not that I want him to lose, but merely that it gives more time to the advocates of free enterprise to perfect their cause and to spread the right ideas through the country.” 
As former judge Andrew Napolitano said, there was not a dime’s worth of difference between Romney and Obama.  The 2012 election is over. However “The Revolution” – with or without Ron Paul – will continue to grow and very possibly win in 2016 if a good candidate comes forward and we survive that long.
1 See the Links page on this website for several accounts of criminality in government.
Another, comparatively minor, reason not to like Ron Paul is his support for NASA’s non-military programs – the circus of bread and circus, we would say. Thus we disagree with both Paul and Rand on this. Regarding Rand, in twenty-five words or less: She saw the leftists hating what virtue there was in the Apollo program, and she rightly fought that hatred, but then, I think, this led her to promote everything about Apollo, virtues and vices indiscriminately.
... That was more than 25 words.
It’s just an expression, Froggy. This isn’t the place for a discourse on welfare science.
2 Leaving the issue of abortion up to the states is not leaving the recognition of individual rights up to the states but rather leaving a question of fact: is an embryo a person or not. Those who are anti-choice say yes, a person, and they would defend the individual rights of that “person.” Their motivation is good (at least that of some of them): the dignity of man. They simply don’t realize that it is an insult to man to maintain he is only a spec of protoplasm. Thus the situation is rather the opposite of what the official Objectivists maintain.
Many people professing to be anti-choice are really of two minds about it. They believe they ought to think abortion is wrong and they pay lip service to that position, then hand the issue over to each state so they can oppose choice and have it too.
Church organizations are divided on the issue. The following are pro-choice: United Church of Christ, American Baptist Churches (as opposed to Southern Baptist Convention), Presbyterian Church USA (as opposed to Presbyterian Church in America), United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church.
Evolution, by the way, shouldn’t be a deal breaker either. Defenders of ARI avoid the subject of evolution when trashing Ron Paul, knowing that Ayn Rand herself was noncommittal (see her essay “The Missing Link” The Ayn Rand Letter vol. II, no. 16 May 7, 1973):
— not much different from Ron Paul’s position: “I think it’s a theory.” though he approaches the question believing in God rather than as an atheist.
“I am not a student of the theory of evolution and, therefore, I am neither its supporter nor its opponent.”
To digress, some people mistake a perversion of evolution, what Raymond Tallis calls Darwinitis (see for example his book Aping Mankind), for evolution and consequently try to defend the dignity of man by opposing evolution. At least their motivation ought to be respected.
3 In the 1980 election Ayn Rand hated Reagan because, among other reasons (see Presidential Elections - Ayn Rand & ARI: 1932-1980 on this website) he wanted to ban abortion at the federal level.
4 See the video clip of Ron Paul speaking to some students at Dartmouth College,
“Ron Paul discusses Ayn Rand”
Catherine Poe, a leftist who hates Ron Paul, knows her enemy:
Only partly true, but from the distance of a leftist understandable.
“... if you look at Congressman Paul’s record and listen carefully to what he says during the debates, you would think he had just stepped out of an Ayn Rand book.”
5 Romney’s advisors included: Michael Chertoff (former head of Homeland Security, and current body scanner war profiteer), Cofer Black (former director of Blackwater), Eliot Cohen (PNAC), Robert Kagan (PNAC), Robert Joseph (responsible for the “sixteen words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union message claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger), John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Dan Senor, Eric Edelman (a top official at the Pentagon under Bush), Michael Hayden (former CIA director), Stephen Rademaker (helped draft the original Homeland Security legislation), Kim Holmes (Heritage Foundation), Vin Weber (PNAC), Dov Zakheim (foreign policy advisor to Bush Jr. during his 2000 campaign, former member of the “Vulcans” and PNAC), Gabriel Schoenfeld (former editor at Commentary Magazine and member of the Hudson Institute).
And Walid Phares, former member of the of the Phalange movement in Lebanon and now at the neocons’ Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Eight of Romney advisers signed letters of the neocons’ Project for a New American Century (PNAC, founded by Kagan and Bill Kristol), urging the invasion of Iraq: one letter to President Clinton in 1998 and another to President Bush a few days after 9/11. Dobriansky, Friedberg, Cohen and Weber signed the 1997 PNAC charter. Romney’s foreign policy white paper, with the title “An American Century” and foreword by Eliot Cohen, uses the same rhetoric as PNAC.
Early in 2009 Kagan, Edelman, Senor and Bill Kristol launched Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) to succeed PNAC. FPI opposes withdrawing from Afghanistan and supports a troop increase, it advocates a permanent occupation of 20,000 troops in Iraq, promotes “regime change” in Iran, and military intervention in Syria. Three of FPI’s four board members are advisors to Romney.
Romney’s largest financial backer was the neoconservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, are good friends. See
“A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012”
by Michael Barbaro, The New York Times April 7, 2012
Romney is a cipher, a Bush retread. The neocons were bending and shaping him just as they did Bush.
Romney speaking at The Citadel military academy in South Carolina, October 7, 2012:
And we wouldn’t want that would we now?
“This century must be an American Century. ... God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. ... America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will.”
There is an unstated alternative to America leading the world by force – and U.S. military force is what Romney is talking about here. Americans should mind affairs in America and stop their government’s forceful meddling in foreign countries, which only jingoistic nonsense like “destiny” can justify. The U.S. cannot be an empire and remain America.
Romney got the Republican nomination and Yaron Brook and the others at the Ayn Rand Institute, loudly lamenting having to make the choice, support him. I suspect that secretly, protests to the contrary, they wanted him all along, for the many neocons hanging on his coattails.
6 Ayn Rand once recommended the word “libertarian” to describe her political philosophy, see Ayn Rand’s Political Label on this website.
In “Who Is John ... Allison? A Randian, Libertarian Business Icon Takes Over the Cato Institute” July 2, 2012 (Forbes.com) Ralph Benko quotes John Allison in an earlier interview: “Cato is a great asset for the libertarian free society movement.” “The libertarian vision is a moral vision and we own the moral high ground.” Yet Mr. Allison had been recently appointed to the Board of ARI. There must be something else about Ron Paul besides the libertarian label that makes Mr. Brook hate him.
About the reference to Robert Taft (1889 - 1953), see the book Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism by Bill Kauffman.
7 On the other hand, being a 501(3)(c) didn’t stop the Ayn Rand Institute from endorsing George Bush in 2000. See Presidential Elections - Ayn Rand & ARI: 1984-2000 on this website.
8 According to The Street, Mallory Factor is a merchant banker who writes on economic topics. He co-chairs a discussion group he founded called “The Monday Meeting” consisting of economic conservatives, journalists, and corporate leaders in New York City. He chairs the Economic Roundtable for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and led the 2009 Economic Summit for the U.S. House Republican Conference and Policy Committee.
9 Bosch Fawstin is an ex-Muslim immigrant from the Middle East and (per once on Facebook) “in a relationship” with Ms. Peikoff. He frequently co-hosts her podcasts. The above described picture is one of over a dozen he has drawn of Ron Paul, all unflattering and usually grotesque. He’s currently working on a graphic novel (comic book) entitled The Infidel that features a muscular superhero named Pigman, Killian Duke in his day job. Before attacking Muslim villains Duke dons a colorful pigskin suit. Mr. Fawstin’s writings and political cartoons frequently appear on David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine website.
Mr. Fawstin brings to America the battle that is waging at his place of origin. He wants the battle to be your battle too.
Here is a picture of Robert Spencer flanked by Amy and Bosch, taken some months after the Yaron Brook interview; they’re at a Jihad Watch shindig sponsored by David Horowitz (“Freedom Center Restoration Weekend”) at the Breakers hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida, November 19 & 20, 2011:
10 Rational self-criticism is part of being benevolently selfish. Self-criticism that is deserved is not “anti-self,” indeed it is the road to self-improvement. All the more must we be watchful and critical and “jealous” of the government of our country, which is separate from ourselves and at times our enemy.
The following, naturally not referenced by Mr. Brook, is from an interview Ron Paul gave on June 28, 2007. The gist of it: If you enter a war expect to get treated as a combatant.
Neo-Objectivists mischaracterize Ron Paul, claiming that he says the 9-11 attack was “justified.” He says it can be understood. When your government bombs and kills people in support of Israel against Palestinians, or in support of Iran against Iraq, or Iraq against Iran, or Kuwait against Iraq, or the Arab monarchy against its subjects, then some of the survivors are going to think you are in a war against them – because in fact your government is in a war against them – and will want to retaliate.
“... American foreign policy in the Middle East has stirred up enormous anger among Muslims, our support for Israel included, and you’re correct to say that it’s the American taxpayer who’s shouldering much of the burden. ... the sanctions in Iraq during Clinton’s presidency, which killed nearly as many Iraqis as have died under the Bush presidency, and the presence of our military bases in Saudi Arabia – together with the situation in Israel, these actions are used by extremists and jihadists as justification for killing Americans. Just look at bin Laden’s public statements throughout the nineties. Can you imagine what it would be like if ... China was building military bases the size of the Vatican in Kansas? People would be up in arms.
“This isn’t to say that we ‘invited’ the attacks of 9/11, or any other terrorist attacks, but simply that our policy decisions have certain consequences that we might wish to avoid. The CIA has given a name for this: ‘blowback’. ... deeds can have a way of rebounding on the doer, which is why the older imperial powers tended to be very cautious in their dealings with strange peoples in foreign lands. The Clinton and Bush administrations have been absolutely incompetent in comparison.
“... my solution would be to follow the wisdom of the Founders, which means a non-interventionist foreign policy, getting rid of foreign aid to all nations, including Israel. We ought to lead by example, not by coercion or special interest: this was what the Founders had in mind.
When neo-Objectivists can’t ignore Ron Paul completely they caricature his views, mock his arguments in sound bites and smear his character. They treat Ron Paul the way many people treat Ayn Rand.
The September 20, 2011 Mallory Factor interview was not the first time Mr. Brook has commented on Ron Paul. During the contest for the Republican nomination of 2008 Leonard Peikoff asked Mr. Brook in writing about Ron Paul, and then read Mr. Brook’s reply on his podcast of December 23, 2007. Mr. Peikoff first introduces the letter. Speaking of the candidates:
“... I don’t see anybody worth commenting on at this point. But I do get repeatedly this question about Ron Paul: ‘Do you know anything about this man that would plausibly justify a vote for him?’ And, uh, I don’t know anything about Ron Paul, so I wrote Yaron Brook: ‘Could you tell me something that would be relevant to answer this question?’ I’ll read his answer, and that’s all I’m going to say about him:
“ ‘Unfortunately but not unpredictably I have only bad news regarding Ron Paul. He ran for president once or twice [once – A.W.] as a Libertarian before he switched to the Republican party. His foreign policy is typically libertarian. He blames 9-11 on America; if only we disengaged from the Middle East Bin Laden will leave us alone. On abortion he, like many libertarians, believes it should be left up to the states to decide, i.e. he advocates democracy, not individual rights.’
“And then he ends the letter: ‘I could go on, three dots.’ I find that very persuasive. I’m not ever going to say another thing about Ron Paul.”
A few comments on Mr. Brook’s letter follow.
After working as a physician for many years Ron Paul began his political career as a Republican in the House of Representatives. Later he switched to the Libertarian Party and in 1988 ran for President. Some time afterward he returned to the Republican Party and Congress. He ran for the Republican nomination in 2008.
History did not begin on 9/11, the events leading to 9/11 began about half a century earlier. Pointing that out, with corroborating detail, is blaming United States politicians, and it is a defense of America First Americans. Americans are not their so-called leaders. If that be anti-government, make the most of it.
Americans would indeed become better off if the U.S. disengaged from – stopped meddling in – Middle East affairs.
Ron Paul’s position on abortion is unfortunate but this lapse hardly translates into a wholesale advocacy of democracy. (See also the first paragraph of footnote 2 above.) He is the foremost defender of Constitutional law among politicians today.
More on Mr. Peikoff and the 2008 election can be found at Presidential Elections - Ayn Rand & ARI: 2008 on this website.
10a In the 1960s, leftists were more likely than traditional conservatives to give Ayn Rand a hearing. See the first footnote, third paragraph, of Those Dang Left-wingers! on this website.
11 Pointlessly repeated phrases have been silently corrected. For example “I think, I think” is transcribed as “I think.”
12 “11/9/2011 Ron Paul CNBC GOP Debate Highlights” (video)
There are many other Ron Paul speeches and talks in the same vein. Here he is speaking off the cuff April 18, 2012 during a radio interview with Helen Glover (excess verbiage such as “you know” silently removed):
“Some people are rich because they live off the system, if you’re a banker or a company that gets bailed out and you live off government contracts. Being rich under those circumstances, I don’t have much sympathy for that. But if you’re rich and you’ve done well because you have provided a great service, you shouldn’t be punished for this. So I like to distinguish the two, and right now, the people who are upset, rightfully so, for [that is, about] the people who got bailed out, they should not put everybody in the same category.”
Now here is an excerpt from the famous money speech in Atlas Shrugged:
Does something about Ayn Rand strike Mr. Brook that underneath she’s anti-business, and not just in the crony sense but in the more fundamental sense? Perhaps he can’t completely prove this, it’s more a sense he gets from her. She doesn’t say crony, after all.
“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.”
13 Mr. Brook is in bed with the necons. See Birds of a Feather on this website.
The following describes the neo-Objectivist’s attitude toward Ron Paul, from “My Obsession with Jews” by Joseph Sobran, writing of his days as a contributing editor at National Review magazine:
“... the neo-conservatives were hardly conservative at all. For most of them, Israel was everything and overrode all other issues. You could agree with them on nine out of ten issues, but if the tenth was Israel the other nine didn’t matter to them. You were the enemy.”
When Ron Paul was interviewed on C-Span, July 24, 2012, he had this to say about Republicans, and he might as well have been talking about neo-Objectivists in his first two sentences:
... for years and years they’ve argued they believe in limited government. ... Republicans profess that they want less government but we actually believe in it. We don’t want to just cut on the proposed increases and that’s all that’s happened for the last 30 or 40 years, no matter who’s in office it’s always tinkering around the edges. We want to change the philosophy of this government. It’s the philosophy of liberty, it’s the philosophy of the Constitution and defending everybody’s individual rights.
14 For example see
“Ron Paul on the Patriot Act & the TSA” (video)
For more about Ron Paul’s stand on this and other issues see the Links page of this website under “Political Action.”
15 For example Ron Paul opposed H.R. 4133, the “United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012,” saying:
“While I ... believe that Israel ... should be free to determine for itself what is necessary for its national security, I do not believe that those decisions should be underwritten by U.S. taxpayers and backed up by the U.S. military.”
16 One wonders if the thousands cheering at Ron Paul rallies remind Mr. Brook of Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Rallies. It would be no more ridiculous than his saying (paraphrasing) “Ron Paul doesn’t really understand what it means to be an American.” See the video
“Ron Paul Revolution on Fire !”
You may want to turn off the sound before the collage of crowd scenes starts at 1:25. I haven’t heard the music Hitler played at his rallies but it must have been better than what Dennis Hamm and an accomplice inflicted on this otherwise inspiring video.
17 Many years ago Ayn Rand wrote of Americans (“Don’t Let It Go” The Ayn Rand Letter, December 6, 1971): “They are self-confident, trusting, generous, enormously benevolent and innocent.” which unfortunately can be a liability, we would say, when it comes to dealing with barefaced liars.
18 Ayn Rand also composed a speech for Goldwater’s campaign, to be delivered by either Goldwater or Eisenhower on the eve of the election, but it was never used.
Goldwater was unable to attract many voters and lost the election by a large margin. Ayn Rand attributed his defeat to the way his campaign was conducted and the then current ignorance of the public. From her postmortem analysis (“It Is Earlier Than You Think” The Objectivist Newsletter December 1964):
She concluded what she had often observed before: It is too early to expect an effective man to run for president or to expect the public to appreciate such a man if he did run; however, in time and with the right propaganda it can happen.
“There was no discussion of capitalism. There was no discussion of statism. There was no discussion of the blatantly vulnerable record of the government’s policies in the last thirty years. There was no discussion. There were no issues.”
“It Is Earlier Than You Think” was composed almost half a century ago. Since then huge numbers of people have woken up to what is happening to America, and some good candidates have come forward. The immense change in the public’s response to Ron Paul from 2008 to 2012 holds the promise that respect for individual rights is an idea whose time is coming.
19 From an interview, apparently one in the “Ayn Rand on Campus” syndicated radio series originating from WKCR at Columbia University. For some of her remarks after Goldwater’s defeat see Presidential Elections - Ayn Rand & ARI: 1932-1980 on this website.
20 Andrew Napolitano, ret. judge:
Endorses Ron Paul
What if elections don’t matter?