In a recent article by Jack Galway ( Read the article here ), the idea was put forth that all candidates for US President, Dr. Paul included, place somewhere on a spectrum of authoritarianism. In follow-up comments the idea is put forth that Dr. Paul would have to be an anarchist to not place on this authoritarian spectrum.
If we judge Paul by everything he's said, written, and voted, it's easy to see that the traces of authoritarianism in Paul are actually a little practiced, antiquated notion called the Rule of Law.
Paul does not use the phrase explicitly. This is a shame, since the Rule of Law is likely the single concept which binds diverse people from all political parties to Dr. Paul. Practically every sentence in his speeches associates some national problem with our nonadherence to the supreme law of the land, so we inductively reason that he is in favor of the Rule of Law.
Authoritarianism is a definite problem in the US. We are definitely slipping more into authoritarianism no matter which candidate ends up winning (excepting a divine intervention which places Paul on top). But consider that authoritarians in the US are not working within the law: they take it upon themselves to make decisions based on factors other than the law.
The abusive cop, the power-tripping bureaucrat, and the general who administers marshall law are not making up new laws. They are all disregarding established law. The predominance of regular law, applicable to both king and commoner, is abandoned in favor of arbitrary power.
The supreme law of the land – the Constitution of the United States – doesn't call for authoritarianism, and likewise does not call for anarchy. The law calls for limited federal government, some basic ground rules, some guaranteed rights, and everything else to be decided by the states or the people.
Paul differs sharply from the other candidates in that the Rule of Law is the authority to which he appeals. He is not styling himself the candidate most fit to rule. He is offering himself as a loyal servant of the Rule of Law, and the candidate who will invariably turn to that authority only. That authority just happens to be manifest in the Constitution.
As many Americans have some exposure to the idea of the Rule of Law, from sources as varied as religion to fraternal organizations to the military to plain old-fashioned good parenting, the idea of having elected officials who appeal to that authority is starting to gain ground.
On a higher level, Paul's relative success could be attributed to his appeal to non-Libertarians. Those who investigate the Libertarian Party with any rigor invariably discover the internal anarchist/minarchist debate. Adherents to the Rule of Law who would be described as minarchists are put off by this. As there is an existing law which if followed would produce a minarchist government, and there also doesn't seem to be an anarchist call for the legal repeal of the US Constitution, Rule of Law adherents therefore become confused and avoid the entire party. You can't both support what the law says and simultaneously work to extralegally abolish that law. Enter Dr. Paul, who sides with the minarchists based on the Rule of Law, and you find those Rule of Law minarchists – and indeed Rule of Law members of all parties – joining the revolution.
Does Paul's Rule of Law perspective place him on an authoritarian spectrum? Perhaps, but only insofar as he submits to the authority of the Rule of Law. However, Rule of Law and authoritarianism are historically at odds with each other. Rule of Law is also intended to bind government actions. Runaway governments have no choice but to ignore or circumvent the Rule of Law, as is painfully obvious in the current administration. Rule of Law is not rule BY law.
Ron Paul does not behave as one wishing to be the law nor as one wishing to want to rule by law. To half-intelligent working stiffs like myself, that alone makes any comparison of Paul to authoritarians questionable. He submits to a higher authority, but he doesn't talk to that authority on his cell phone – he reads it in the Constitution.Tweet