The Radical Center
Published in

The Radical Center

Thomas Massie and the Ron Paul Shuffle

Rep. Thomas Massie is another one of those Ron Paul “libertarians,” which means someone who sounds libertarian but votes conservative. It’s what I called the Ron Paul Shuffle, as Paul was a master of deception and dishonesty. Ron used it to take campaign donations from gullible libertarians while satisfying conservative Republicans with his votes.

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove federal laws prohibiting marijuana. Massie, of the much-exaggerated “Liberty Caucus” amongst big government Republicans, voted against the move. He did a Ron Paul Shuffle to justify his typical big government vote. The Washington Post reported:

“The prospects of winning Republican support for the House bill were complicated by some of its provisions — such as the establishment of a 5 percent federal excise tax that would in part fund programs for “individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs,” job training, legal aid in seeking to expunge marijuana convictions, and mentoring programs.

The bill also provides for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions dating to 1971 and bars the denial of federal public benefits or security clearances on the basis of marijuana offenses.

That has turned off some libertarian-minded Republicans who might otherwise support eliminating marijuana restrictions. “Tax and spend,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.), who said he would have considered voting for the bill had Democratic leaders allowed a vote on an amendment to eliminate the tax component.”

So, Ron would want to vote again Free Trade measures so he’d argue the measure in question was less than perfectly free trade. It didn’t matter if it substantially increased freedom of trade, as long as it had one flaw, or something that could be spun as a flaw, it could be used to justify a protectionist vote in the name of being “pure.”

When the Supreme Court threw out sodomy laws Ron Paul attacked them because “States Rights” mattered. On the other hand when Washington D.C. rewrote their criminal laws and removed sodomy as a crime; the Moral Majority and Ron Paul had a fit. Paul voted to have sodomy reinstate as a crime in DC and overturn the local laws. Top-down approaches were opposed by him except when they weren’t. It all depended on which pushed the conservative agenda.

Ron openly lied about the legislation in DC to justify his vote. I questioned him about this vote at the time when I was in DC and he claimed he only voted to throw gays in prison because the new law reduced the penalty for rape. I listened and thought he had a point, just not one sufficient to justify the vote. Years later I found out he bullshitted me.

The D.C. law had a high penalty for rape, which meant juries were reluctant to convict without overwhelming evidence. Victims were angry because their attackers were not convicted because penalties scared juries. So, to increase the conviction rate or rapists they wanted a reduction in the sentence, in addition to that, it decriminalized “sodomy.” Ron pretended he voted to jail gays in order to incarcerate rapists. In reality he voted to let rapists off so the law could jail gays — the opposite of what he claimed to me would happen. And a history of sodomy laws in the United States confirmed that people did go to prison because of this move by the Moral Majority and their Republican puppets.

Similarly Paul argued the Bill of Rights didn’t apply to the states when it came to separation of church and state — he called that whole idea a myth! But, while the First Amendment didn’t apply to the states, Ron was insistent the Second Amendment did. The First Amendment angered conservatives, the Second Amendment caused them to salivate so Ron found a way to oppose the first and oppose the second.

The Ron Paul Shuffle would take a conservative position and justify it with forced libertarian-sounding rhetoric. But, this shuffle is only used in one direction; it is always used to justify voting in line with conservatives.

It was once recommended that libertarians arguing “liberal” positions used conservative rhetoric to justify if. Or if arguing a “conservative” position use liberal rhetoric — what was called political cross-dressing.

This is what the fibertarians — people who lie about being libertarian — in the Republican Party routinely do, Ron, his spawn, Massie and others. They take a conservative position and cross-dress it in libertarian rhetoric. They take funds from libertarians but give their votes to conservative causes.

Try to figure out Massie’s logic and see if it makes sense. The federal law says it’s a crime to own, use, or distribute marijuana. The new law would end that but put a 5% tax on it. Massie is giving conservatives his vote while claiming a 5% tax is sufficient reason to oppose the measure — instead he’ll cling to the “libertarian” purist position, which sends those users to jail instead. I know his views aren’t really libertarian; he’s just pretending they are, a tactic Ron Paul mastered.

Taxing people 5% is a hell of a lot more libertarian than sending them to jail!

Drug Thugs Attacking a Home

These fake “libertarian-minded Republicans” are liars with double standards. If a measure comes along to reduce a tax they will vote for it. So a tax that was 6% might be reduced to 4% and they call the reduction a great victory for liberty.

There are some libertarians who live in fantasyland where they think through some magic a libertarian utopia will appear on the scenes overnight. It’s sort of a libertarian version of an old Marxist fantasy. In life utopia is rarely an option and most changes come incrementally. Libertarians who have no strategy for getting from here to there are politically useless and irrelevant.

Even the example of abolitionism, which the “purists” often pull out wasn’t what they claim it was. It took centuries to abolish slavery and Abolitionists were making moves to eradicate slavery long before they succeeded. Change comes at the margins in most cases, now and then it happens in a large measure, but those are rare. Even the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of tyrannical socialism in the Soviet block didn’t bring about anything remotely similar to the kind of world some libertarians fantasize about.

What the Ron Paul Shuffle does, whether used by Paul or Thomas Massie, is works against the only kind of change likely — the changes at the margins and thus it uses the fantasies of purists to stop actual improvement in human liberty.

For More Reading

Ending the War on Drugs

In the last nine years alone, more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to drug-war violence in Mexico. 50 years ago, governments around the world made it illegal to produce, sell, and possess certain drugs. Five decades later, illegal drug use is at an all time high and $100 billion of government money around the globe is spent every year on drug-related criminal law enforcement and the so-called war on drugs. Drug prohibition laws have put the drug market into the hands of organized criminals, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) are seeking to alter opinion towards prohibition-focused drug laws and criminalization, bringing to light potential new policies and attitudes which will reduce organized crime, drug-related violence, and the supply and demand of illicit drugs. Harm reduction is at the forefront of their agenda and this collection of essays outlines key facts, debates, and perspectives on the war on drugs, and how we can end it. Contributors include Ernesto Zedillo (former president of Mexico), Ruth Dreifuss (former president of Switzerland), Henrique Fernando Cardoso (former president of Brazil), Olusegun Obasanjo (former president of Nigeria), Cesar Gaviria (former president of Colombia), Pavel Bem (former mayor of Prague), Michel Kazatchkine (UNSG’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia), Anand Grover (former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health), Carl Hart (Professor, Columbia University), and George Soros (philanthropist). (To order click on line below.)

Paperback, list price, $18.95; Amazon price, $14.74; our price, $7.95.

Follow our daily comments at Twitter. If you are looking for discounted libertarian books visit our Freeminds website.


Your support to fund these columns is important, visit our page at Patreon.

Our only support for this work is your donations via Patreon — even $1 a month adds up. Please consider signing up to make a monthly donation, but you can also make one time donations.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store