To begin: This is not a story about Ron Paul.
Not exactly, anyway. And yet to get where we want to go we will start at OPA!, a Greek restaurant on the edge of town where Clark County Republicans and tea party conservatives gathered on Nevada primary night for what looked undeniably like a Ron Paul rally.
In one corner was Cindy Lake, the acting chair of the Clark County Republican Party and a delegate to this summers Republican National Convention. A self-described libertarian Republican constitutional conservative, Lake became a Paul convert in 2007 after she heard him advocate for something she passionately supports: the freedom to buy raw milk.
Nearby stood Megan Heryet, celebrating her GOP primary victory in a state Assembly race. Heryet, a real estate agent, substitute teacher and mom, is hardly a Paul fanatic. But she did back him in Nevadas caucuses earlier this year, primarily because she is a big proponent of being free to make decisions such as choosing to give birth to her second child at home instead of a hospital. Its about being left alone, she said.
And there were the Bunce brothers, Richard and Carl, who marshaled a four-year Paulist takeover of the Nevada Republican Party. The tax system is their biggest irritation. This is the land of the free, said Carl. How free are we when weve got a government that can choose how much money we keep in our paycheck?
But we promised this wouldnt be about Ron Paul and, in fact, it really isnt. Rather its about unpasteurized milk and home births and taxes and, yes, freedom.
Somethings going on in America this election year: a renaissance of an ideal as old as the nation itself that live-and-let-live, get-out-of-my-business, individualism vs. paternalism dogma that is the hallmark of libertarianism.
Paul, the Texas congressman and GOP presidential hopeful who champions small government and individual liberty, is one manifestation of it. We saw that with his rising popularity during the Republican presidential primary season and, now, the recent takeovers of political conventions in Nevada, Minnesota, Maine, Louisiana and elsewhere that will result in a sizable faction of Paul delegates at the GOP convention come August.
There are questions of how all of that might affect the choice of a GOP vice presidential candidate and the Republican Party platform.
But what looms are far larger questions about whether an America fed up with government bans and government bailouts with government, period is seeing a return to its libertarian roots. And, if so, what that might mean in a potentially close presidential race and long after election 2012 is a mere memory.
See the rest here:
FOCUS: With 'freedom' in fashion, is libertarianism back?