My Atlasphere column is getting thoroughly thrashed in the comments section. There have been some positive comments, but most of the comments are fairly useless ad hominem and the like; though some of those are quite humorous in their stupidity. For example, several folks dismiss the article on the basis of my being a professor. Others accused me of being a hired political hit man. The most ridiculous though are the several people accuse me of being a socialist or communist. Apparently, criticizing Ron Paul for not arguing against social security and socialization of health care, and for having a view of federalism that would allow massive violations of individual rights by the states, makes me a socialist. More likely the reasoning here is: against Ron Paul, must be against libertarianism. Therefore, must be a socialist. The fact that I argue against Paul on the basis of being inconsistent with the principles of liberty and freedom is, I guess, irrelevant.
One of the themes coming out of the comments is that I didn't do enough research because I based my critique on Ron Paul's official campaign website. Several respondents pointed to other writings/speeches by Paul to indicate his views on various positions in contradistinction to my interpretation of his views.
I'm glad to revise my evaluation of Paul when presented with new evidence. When I first wrote the blog, I was more critical of Paul on free trade. Several of my blog readers directed me to columns he wrote where he clarified his views, and I changed my evaluation and softened my critique. Additionally, I've hardened my criticism on issues like "states' rights" and social security after reading more about Paul.
Still, this raises more questions than answers for me. I knew very little of Paul when I decided to do write this blog/column. As I said in an earlier post, it was an exercise for me to find out more about him that grew out of a discussion at our local Objectivist salon. The logical place to look is his campaign website; that's where I would expect to find the most definitive statement of Paul's views and his platform. That's what I would do for any candidate. It never occurred to me that the campaign website would be so different than the candidate's actual views. Moreover, I don't see how this helps Paul's case. It shows either he's a poor supervisor or he's intentionally misleading people to get support. The first should disqualify him from executive office and the second undermines the claim to be a principled.