Ever since Ron Paul retired from public life in 2012, libertarians have been completely rudderless. As much as libertarians may like to delude themselves that they do not need leaders, it has become abundantly clear that they need them as much as anyone. Without a strong leadership figure, libertarians have accomplished little other than being a national laughingstock. The post-Paul era has been defined by nothing but folly and embarrassment for libertarians, who are stubbornly unwilling to admit the political reality staring them in the face.
The silver lining is that it should not be particularly hard for libertarians to reinvent themselves. The anti-establishment fervor of the Ron Paul revolution has boiled over into Trumpmania, a phenomenon so powerful that it swept the nation and gave the Republicans a spectacular victory in last year’s election. Candidates who embody the Trump persona–moreso than his fluid policy platform–can make serious gains in the midst of the unprecedented level of chaos enveloping our political process. Nobody has demonstrated this better than Judge Roy Moore.
Pulling out a firearm during a final campaign stop and riding into the polling center to vote for himself on horseback, Judge Roy Moore is about as far from Paul Ryan as anyone you could ever imagine. The unflinching favorite son of the Heart of Dixie, raised to love his country, never be ashamed of his heritage, and hold his Christian faith above all else, Judge Moore has earned his reputation as a fighter. He was removed from the Supreme Court of Alabama on two separate occasions because he put fidelity to his faith before the dictates of the robed, unelected lawyers of the federal Supreme Court.
The first time Moore was booted from the Alabama Supreme Court, it happened because he refused to remove a monument listing the Ten Commandments from public land. The second time he was kicked off the court, it was because Moore refused to enforce the homosexual marriage edicts proclaimed by SCOTUS in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). Libertarians, who tend to be hostile toward religion and traditional morality, typically scoff at Judge Moore’s history of dissidence. Libertarians skeptical of Judge Moore’s bold stances should ask themselves the following questions: If more people took Judge Moore’s example to heart and refused to comply with orders that went against their conscience, would we be freer or would we be less free? Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing when individuals peaceably refuse to comply with centralized power? As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Judge Moore nullified federal tyranny in a manner that the Founding Fathers would have found admirable.
For taking his courageous stances, Judge Moore was called every name in the book by the mainstream press. He claimed that Jihadi-sympathizer Keith Ellison should not be allowed to serve in Congress, making him an anti-Islamic bigot in the eyes of the liberal media. His belief that his God, his faith, takes precedence over all else, including his nation, has caused critics to call Judge Moore the equivalent of the Christian Taliban. Despite the leftists’ usual haranguing, the voters didn’t give a damn. Moore’s unique and sometimes radical beliefs made him authentic in the eyes of Alabama voters. The voters knew that Moore was one of them. Although he has been a lawyer and a government official in different capacities for many years, Moore isn’t cut from the same cloth as your average beltway insider. He is a man of Alabama values, a statesman and a patriot, who will go to Washington D.C. to give the dirty bastards of the swamp every bit of hell he can possibly muster.
Libertarians who bemoan Roy Moore’s caustic approach and corresponding success do so out of jealousy. They are jealous that Moore is at the forefront, at the cusp, serving as the tip of the spear of a national revolution that is giving the political establishment fits while libertarians mostly sit on the sidelines in irrelevance. Of course, some liberty-minded legislators remain active within the GOP fold, but their influence has waned substantially. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), once seen as the brightest stars of the liberty movement, have seen their stars dim after embracing pragmatism and softening the message for the purposes of appealing to broader audiences (a plan that has failed abysmally by every possible metric). The most effective liberty-minded legislator in terms of embracing the populism of the Trump-era GOP is Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who has proven to be a shrewd maneuverer and astute judge of the tempestuous political climate.
Cosmopolitan libertarians want us to believe that it is somehow more brave to stand for transgender bathroom rights than it is to take on arguably the nation’s most influential nexus of institutional power, the Supreme Court. Libertarians have shown that they won’t speak out on behalf of religious freedom due to the fear of losing a pointless, do-nothing Koch brothers job, much less losing a prestigious judicial position. Moore’s courage is what impresses voters so they lend them their support despite his many excesses. In the same sense, the public supported Ron Paul as well. They admired Ron’s steadfast resolve, and were willing to overlook a kooky stance here or there because of their respect for the man. ‘Roy Moore Libertarianism’ can get us back to what once resonated nationally for the movement: Standing for God First, Nation Second, and Government Never.
Roy Moore’s particular brand of libertarianism is an easy sell to the public too. It’s uniquely American, and taps directly into the DNA of the nation. Libertarians need to learn a thing or two about branding, and realize that coaching their message in populist anti-establishment terms is how to proceed. Americans just don’t want soft, weak, whiny, bowtie-clad nancy boys prancing around fancifully as their political leaders. Reciting tedious dogma about rejecting leaders and hierarchies and the force of government has not moved the libertarian movement forward one inch. Activists need to realize that this cause isn’t about satisfying their personal subjective desires, but rather about appealing to the public and drawing them into the message of liberty. ‘Roy Moore Libertarianism’ is a big winner that has already been proven to overcome the many advantages of the political establishment, and every libertarian activist would be wise to take notes.