In the end, the junior senator from Kentucky and his ilk claim to have risen in defense of the Fifth Amendment, but instead they’ve given the rest of us a glimpse into the bizarre world many Libertarians inhabit.
It’s a world where conspiracy theories abound, Federal Reserve bankers are on par with al-Qaeda, and the president is an Orwellian Big Brother — the sort of stuff that attracts a rather odd bunch. For as the Wall Street Journal fittingly suggests, “if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable Libertarian kids in their college dorms.”
I witnessed these kids in action at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference when I accompanied my former boss Donald Rumsfeld, who received the Defender of the Constitution award from his friend, Dick Cheney. A gaggle of Libertarian Paulites behaved as if they were at a professional wrestling bout and shouted obscenities at the two men — some were moved to call them “war criminals.”
Paul’s filibuster was about as serious as the accusations hurled at Rumsfeld and Cheney, and it in fact exposed Rand as an acolyte of his father, Ron. During Rand’s rant, he condemned his critics as those who “see perpetual war, perpetual war without geographic limits, and they see the battlefield here, so they want the laws of war to apply not only there but here.” This is “martial law,” Paul argued.