Q/A: Who Are The Leaders In Libertarianism?


April 18, 2014 by Liberty

I found this to be a particularly fun question. It brings into light a fairly statist concept that’s often related to libertarianism.

Since Ron Paul retired, who is leading the libertarian movement? Did the leadership end with him? Rand Paul seems to have some of the same appeal but he’s definitely not much of a libertarian. What do you think?

I take contest with the idea of libertarian leaders in the first place. Of course, there are people in the libertarian movement that have been making a major impact recently (like Ron Paul) but the concept of leader doesn’t generally apply. Leader is defined as a person that commands. Commands aren’t really involved in real libertarianism.

Ron Paul did not get gather the attention he did because of the things he was going to do. He gathered the attention because of the things that he wanted to undo. While I don’t particularly agree with politics being a means of undoing, Ron Paul focused on using politics to try and reduce politics.

The reduction of politics is a decentralized concept. It’s taking something controlled by a violent monopoly and making it live or die through free market enterprise. That’s why I find it a little difficult to label Ron Paul a leader. If anything, he was a leader trying to reduce leaders.

That, of course, all depends on definitions. By leader, you could be suggesting Ron Paul is a pioneer in libertarianism. That is definitely not the case. Ron Paul has innovated very little in libertarianism. He has been very open about the people he’s learned from.

Libertarianism isn’t fundamentally about leaders. Sure, it’s okay to have men and women voluntarily following others but the people they’re following shouldn’t have the authority to command. Decentralization can not be created through centralization. Libertarianism can only be created through more people becoming leaders of their own life.

I believe that is the way people should perceive Ron Paul’s legacy. He was a very smart man. He was a very skilled politician. He dedicated his career to libertarian ideals. Despite decades involved in politics, he made virtually no impact. I do not believe we will find anyone more suited for the job than Ron Paul (especially not Rand Paul.) I think we’ve seen the inevitable fate of libertarian politics.

I believe it’s better to think about libertarianism without the leaders. Or, another way of saying it, with millions of people leading their own lives. Submitting to an authority is not going to let you be free and it’s definitely not going to make the world a better place.


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One thought on “Q/A: Who Are The Leaders In Libertarianism?

  1. Michael Smith says:


    Great article. I do think all movements need leaders, it makes them more effective. Ron Paul was a great leader but he lacked one thing – elect-ability.

    While I was 100% aligned with his positions, when the common folk (unfortunately they are usually also the uninformed) would hear them they would run the other way. When “everyday people” hear about abolishing the IRS & the EPA they get spooked, right into the arms of the mainstream candidates who are only talking about innocent sounding things.

    Which leads me to Rand Paul. I believe Rand is a polished & electable version of his Father. I believe he is just as much of a Libertarian as his Father but isn’t willing to lead with those ambitious goals like his Father does. It is much smarted politically, in my opinion and much more likely to win elections.

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