Is Ron Paul a libertarian
US Republican Rand Paul : German parties need politicians like Rand Paul
The man makes life difficult for the German media. It eludes the usual political spectrum from progressive to conservative. Rand Paul was one of the first to announce his presidential candidacy in the US for 2016. He is a member of the Republicans. So should he be called a right man? Unlike most party friends, however, he opposes the large number of American missions abroad. He wants to keep the military as small as possible. That sounds like a left anti-imperialist. Unlike the social conservatives, he does not lead a crusade against homosexuals or moral decline, because sexual orientation is none of the government's business. Does that make him a liberal?
Where is the freedom?
Rand Paul is unlikely to be Barack Obama's successor in the White House. But he challenges us Germans mentally. It cannot be classified in the usual range between right and left in this country. He belongs to a political species that doesn't exist here: the libertarians. Their trademark is maximum freedom from government regulations. This is hugely popular among young Americans. His father Ron Paul, who ran in 1988, 2008 and 2012, attracted up to a third of first-time voters in the best of times.
Where is freedom: left or right? Neither right nor left, of course. And yet Americans and Germans place them differently in the party-political spectrum. When in doubt, it tends to be on the right for Americans and on the left for Germans. They derive that from their respective ideas of who or what are the forces that threaten freedom.
Americans - and especially the libertarians - consider the state to be the most dangerous enemy of freedom. The more responsibility the state seizes, the less freedom of action the citizens have. Your ideal is personal responsibility. Upbringing and education of children? Is the responsibility of the parents! Libertarians don't want a federal ministry of education. Parents in the United States have the right not to send children to school or to teach at home. Libertarians are against the US Federal Reserve; she is overpowering. The right to print money must lie with the individual states. For Americans, freedom tends to be right-wing because they distrust the state. And because the Democrats, as supporters of the welfare state, are far more associated with suspicion of the expansion of the state than the Republicans with their desire for more security.
Authoritarian reflex to prohibit
Most Germans, on the other hand, see the state as a protector. He's not bad, he's good. For them, freedom begins with security, first and foremost social security. The ever further expansion of the welfare state is not interpreted as a restriction of freedom, but as an increase in security. When Germans are confronted with new options - family politics between daycare and stove bonuses, internet giants like Google as an opportunity or threat, food from organic to genetically modified food, new energy sources from renewable ones to fracking - the call for regulation by the state soon follows. Little can be heard of the joy of new freedom of choice, which also gives consumers the chance to participate in shaping their own decisions.
The trust of the parties that the citizens can deal with the freedom of choice is apparently low. The authoritarian reflex to prescribe and prohibit is particularly strong on the left. The Greens show the greatest scruples, but also contradictions - possibly because of their founding history. They started out as an anti-nuclear movement and were fighting the state they saw as an energy monopoly. The citizens and peasants in their protest marches also brought with them a healthy skepticism against the government's addiction to regulation. Today Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen would like to inherit the FDP on the one hand, but on the other hand fall back again and again into the popular educational reflex of teasing the citizens with bans and punitive taxes.
Such a voice is missing in Germany
Which German party would have the internal tolerance to tolerate a libertarian like Rand Paul in its ranks? Where in the German spectrum of politics could his fundamental mistrust of the state best be incorporated? Anyone like him would not be a candidate for chancellor, any more than the Republicans would nominate Rand Paul for the presidency. But a voice warning that freedom is always also freedom from state tutelage would do well.
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