A common criticism I hear regarding libertarianism and Ron Paul specifically is that they both fill a niche by a vast majority of people don’t agree with them. I find this criticism dubious at best. How can I say that? Isn’t the fact there hasn’t been a libertarian president proof that the claim is true? No.
Simply put, most people don’t have beliefs regarding political issues. They believe what the most influential people in their lives tell them to believe. They don’t put time into thinking about their beliefs, they just know that one side is right and the other side is wrong. It’s how the game is played. You cheer for the team that’s geographically closer to where you live and shout against every other team because, “They’re not from around here.” Evangelicals will generally oppose legalizing abortion because their ministers have told them it’s against the will of God while progressives will generally support legalizing abortion because the hot feminist they’re trying to shack up with tells them a woman has a right to choose. Neither party every stops to actually consider what they believe.
Foreign policy is another great issue to demonstrate this fact. Many people believe Paul’s foreign policy is “kooky” or “unworkable” and cite talking points to backup their claim. Likewise supporters of Paul’s foreign policy merely believe themselves to be anti-war and therefore must agree. Neither group stops to consider the reason they believe what they believe.
This is why I say criticizing libertarianism based on the apparent lack of popular support is pointless. The majority of people oppose libertarian ideas because the talking head on the teevee tells them to. Most of these people don’t even know about libertarian philosophy. They know the talking head on teevee told them that the libertarians want to eliminate Medicare and that will cause their grandparents to die a slow and horrible death. What those talking heads never mention is that libertarian philosophy is based upon the non-aggression principle and taxation, a form of theft, is incompatible with the non-aggression principle. Because Medicare is funded by initiated force libertarians oppose it but support alternatives such as mutual aid.
You simply can’t claim a majority of people don’t support beliefs when a majority of people don’t have beliefs.