What Would Robert Heinlein Say to Ron Paul and his Supporters?

You may not agree with what Heinlein says here but he is speaking directly across the years to Ron Paul and his people at the Republican National Convention.


Quoted from Take Back Your Government…

“In some states the right of a person to participate in a primary may be challenged and he may then be called on to prove his right by taking an oath to support the ticket which results from such primary. Such a procedure is morally correct; if universal it might do much to put a stop to the present eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too attitude of some irresponsible politicians.”

“Party regularity and party discipline are pragmatically necessary and morally correct in any political party if that party is to carry out its responsibilities. This is especially true with respect to unsuccessful candidates in a party primary; no man should offer himself as a candidate in a party primary unless he is prepared to abide by the majority will of the political group he seeks as a sponsor. Running in a primary is a voluntary action, very similar to joining a caucus; it carries with it responsibilities as well as privileges. A candidate need not enter a primary at all; he is always free to run as an independent instead.”

 

Robert A. Heinlein

 

I don’t often speak directly to political issues on The Freehold but Ron Paul is ripping the party apart. – Jonathan Baird

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While this post was never meant to address the rules change many people have brought it up. I believe this link gives the best analysis of why the rule change was put in place of any I have read http://gopbriefingroom.com/index.php?topic=80961.0

I love the way this post uses the words of a man very important to the traditional libertarian movement to provide a little wisdom to the current leaders of that movement. When I was younger, I used to be a little more ideological, and I think I would have been a Ron Paul supporter, probably even at the convention. However, if I were responsible for making sure a Republican was elected to office, I’d agree with Heinlein on this one. My understanding from news reports is that Paul was actually offered a speaking slot on the condition that he (1) make an endorsement of Romney and (2) let convention planners review his remarks in advance. Given his longstanding history of preferring celebrity over success in the political sphere, (2) seems like it makes sense. I’ve seen enough clips from Alex Jones interviews and such to have trouble giving an open mic to a guy who won’t endorse the event’s headliner and enjoys a little nonconformity and sometimes conspiratorial nonsense from time to time. In regards to the rule-making, well, Ron Paul’s folks have been trying to win like anti-Republican activists. Then, they look shocked when there’s an anti-activist response. This already happened in the Democrat party. As the author of the post said in an earlier comment, there’s an effective way of building a movement and a not-so-effective way, Ron Paul’s people chose the political equivalent of a kind of get-rich-quick scheme that backfired and a part of that was the (predictable) rule-making at the convention.

Ed Raby Sr says:

Have to agree with Heinlein on this one. When a person joins a party, they should follow its rules. I can’t believe I am saying this but Ron Paul should take a lesson from Newt. Newt recognizes that a bigger agenda is at stake — the removal of Obama from office. When it was clear he was not going to get the nomination — he bowed out and told people to support the winner.

Ron Paul is acting like a spoiled kid on a playground who wants everyone to change the rules of the game because he lost. Because they won’t, now he is going to take his ball and go home. Not a lot of maturity there. I couldn’t support him before because of his foreign policy that basically was “let’s pull out, put our head between our legs and hope another 9/11 does not happen”. I am pretty sure now, that I will not support him in the future because of his antics.

If you don’t like them Republicans, leave the club and form your own. Be another Theodore Roosevelt Bull Moose if you think you can pull it off. “But, I can’t win that way” you say. That should probably tell you something there. Perhaps the W column on the stat sheet should matter more than your own personal stats and “integrity” . Therefore, stay on the team, shut your mouth and do your part to get the win.

Drew says:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.” — George Washington, September 19, 1796

Washington great quote…. and that is appropriate in what way two hundred years later with established parties already in existence? Let’s work with the reality we have not with the reality you or I wish we had. Shall we?

William Mayfield says:

Maybe the party needs to be ripped apart.

No people need to do the work it takes to change the party to what they want instead of expecting the party to be handed to them on a silver platter. Paul drug all these libertarians over to the party promising them they would take over and kick the rest of us out. That’s not how it works.

Heinlein was always a firm believer in “voting against” if you don’t know who to vote “for”, but if this thread is in reference to the rules fight underway at the GOP convention, I am not sure if you are exactly on target.

The power grab by Romney and the establishment wing does not neutralize Paul supporters alone, it us also meant to disenfranchise strong Conservative and grassroots supporters in a heavy-handed attempt to enforce party “unity”. Heavy handed? It’s practically Soviet!

It is also a betrayal of the democratic principle because it disenfranchises the votes of those people who did vote and won delegates, delegates they had every right to expect would be allowed to represent their interests at the convention, regardless of whether it made the establishment happy.

I am one of a burgeoning number of reluctant Romney supporters that is intensely irritated with this move, but I am also honest enough to admit I am only a Romney supporter insofar as I am an Obama opponent. This may be the last time I ever pull the lever for the Republican Party. It happened to the Whigs, and I am not sure, but I strongly suspect for much the same reasons.

The GOP, with these changes, is courting institutional death. By gathering all power in the hands of the party leadership and basically telling the most motivated segments of the party to piss off or sit down and STFU they are pushing vast numbers of people towards the third party option.

If not in this election, then certainly in the aftermath. The vast numbers of moral, hardworking, taxpaying, patriotic Americans are up to their collective keister with the shenanigans and double dealing that epitomizes the leadership of both the Republican and Democrat Party. It is really becoming a battle between the ruling class and the country class — or the Cocktail Party against the Tea Party.

But don’t worry. They’ll vote for Romney this time around, but only because they are smart enough to recognize that if Obama wins (or steals) the election in November, there won’t be an America to worry about in 2016.

Actually this article “is” in reference to the fact Ron Paul is refusing to support the ticket and not the rules fight that is underway.

As to the rules fight…I suggest you read Take Back Your Government You may find that you have some erroneous beliefs about how political parties operate at this level. Heinlein lays it out very plainly in the book.

First political parties are in most ways essentially private entities. It is their party they make the rules. When you have control of the party, you make the rules. Control of the party can be achieved by any group that works at it but it isn’t easy.

Do I think the party should seat the Ron Paul delegates? No, until such time as Ron Paul is willing to submit to party discipline then his delegates are not part of the party and should not be counted. Paul has made it clear he will not support the party. The Party should make it clear his supporters are no longer considered part of the party. This is how it works. In fact just a few sentences after those quotes above Heinlein makes it clear that these people should never be given any power in the party what so ever. They have proven by their inability to support the party and they are not worthy of responsibility within it. Now he does not say if they should be seated or not. Not seating them is my own opinion.

My candidate did not win the nomination, but I will do my duty and support the candidate of my chosen party much as what you said you will do. Do I believe they have handled this perfectly…no. Do I believe what they have done is immoral…not really. They are trying to maintain party discipline in the face of an unruly and disruptive element and they may be doing it for reasons that aren’t as sinister as you thought at first.

What is going on is a change in the party the more libertarian wing may succeed in taking over the party next time out (I am betting on the objectivists) and the old guard are rattling their sabers one last time. There is nothing tragic about this. The candidate selection is a done deal already has been for months those rule changes are meaningless in the long run.

lysander spooner says:

the last sentence reveals the false assumption of the whole piece. there are only two parties that are government approved for automatic ballot access.

If a third could muster the votes they could qualify as well. Third parties are not willing to do the ground work to become major parties. I worked for the libertarians for years begging them to work on electing dog-catchers and getting serious about small local offices. Do the things Heinlein tells you that you must do before you become a major player was my suggestion….”No!” was the reply, “we want it all and we want it now.”

If you can’t start at the bottom you sure as hell don’t belong at the top.