Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul (R-TX-14) developed a tremendous following on the Internet, and swayed a pretty significant number of young net-hip professionals to profess a belief in Libertarianism. It’s not surprising; political neophytes could guess the whole marketplace of ideas concept of the early Internet might just work for politics as well.
So I’m not surprised Rand Paul thought he could use the Rachael Maddow show on MSNBC to mine the liberal base for new voters. What he didn’t count on, is that libertarianism itself got a fair hearing. Paul had 18 minutes to answer Maddow’s question about the public accommodations clause of the civil rights act, and he couldn’t, because he knows Americans don’t like “letting the marketplace decide” people’s rights.
So now Paul and his lukewarm supporter Sarah Palin are trying to float the theory that Paul somehow got ambushed, even though that question had become a major problem for Paul in previous newspaper and radio interviews where he tried to make his case.
Blaming MSNBC is not an avenue available to a libertarian. As the conservative media group AIM pointed out, he chose to go on Maddow’s show, it’s a privately owned channel on a non-scarce distribution system, which its viewers watch as an act of free-market capitalism.
The free market doesn’t always work, but it worked this time. It pointed out what’s wrong with libertarianism as a 21st Century political philosophy. If Rand Paul were truly committed to his belief system, he’d be happy that it worked so well in practice.