Libertarians often get blamed for being on the extremes; true to philosophy and guarded against practical compromise. When it comes to libertarian politics, no one articulates a libertarian message more consistently and as widely as Ron Paul. The self-proclaimed “champion of the Constitution,” has argued for everything from eliminating the Federal Reserve to ending the drug war, drawing fire from more traditional Republicans in his party.
For decades, Ron Paul has been warning us of the intrusion of government into our daily lives. He was one of only three Republican congressman to vote against the original authorization of the Patriot Act and the only Republican or Democratic Presidential candidate to warn about FISA Amendments in his 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns.
For all his libertarian rhetoric, many of his fellow Republicans and their media counterparts called him a nutcase early and often; effectively marginalizing his message within the mainstream echo-chamber. They called his anti-war, limited government message “un-American” and a threat to our National Security.
Ron Paul had this to say of the Patriot Act in 2005:
The Patriot Act waters down the Fourth amendment by expanding the federal government’s ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight. The requirement of a search warrant and probable cause strikes a balance between effective law enforcement and civil liberties. Any attempt to dilute the warrant requirement threatens innocent citizens with a loss of their liberty. This is particularly true of provisions that allow for issuance of nationwide search warrants that are not specific to any given location, nor subject to any local judicial oversight.
The Act makes it far easier for the government to monitor your internet usage by adopting a lower standard than probable cause for intercepting e-mails and internet communications. I wonder how my congressional colleagues would feel if all of their e-mail headings and the names of the web sites they visited were available to law enforcement upon a showing of mere “relevance.”
Just recently, we found out that “mere relevance” was an understatement. Reality exceeds Ron Paul’s paranoia; there has been no precondition to monitoring internet usage, e-mails, or phone calls according to Snowden, the now famous CIA whistle-blower and a Ron Paul supporter. (Although the Department of National Intelligence assures us that there must be a “valid foreign intelligence purpose.”)
Then again, had Ron Paul warned that the Patriot Act, the NSA, and FISA Amendments would lead to a government that monitors everyone and everything even without a showing of relevance, we probably would have called him crazy.