To his father’s hardcore supporters, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is like “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” – a disappointing sequel to a beloved franchise.
But as the younger Paul — who spent the weekend sucking up to billionaires at a secretive retreat organized by the Koch brothers — contemplates a presidential run, Ron Paul was promoting secession at an event in Texas.
“A lot of times people think secession, they paint it as an absolute negative,” said Ron Paul, the retired longtime Republican representative from Texas.
He described the American Revolution as a type of secession, reported The Washington Post.
“You mean we should have been obedient to the king forever? So it’s all in the way you look at it,” he said.
Ron Paul was the final speaker in a one-day event promoting state secession from what he described as a weak and corrupt U.S. government and economy, and even some of his supporters think he could create real trouble for his son’s presidential ambitions.
“If I were Ron, and my son were running for president, and we were in the same situation, I would shut up,” said Walter Block, a libertarian economics professor at Loyola University and Ayn Rand acolyte.
“Ron is a millstone around Rand’s neck, in the sense that he’s not helping him — or, at least, he’s not helping him be Rand,” Block told The Post. “Because Rand is a compromiser, and Ron and ‘compromise’ don’t belong in the same sentence.”
Adam Ohler, who attended the secession event in Houston, compared Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, the Republican establishment candidate in 2012, to Jar Jar Binks – the annoying character that alienated many longtime “Star Wars” fans from the first prequel.
“He is the ‘Star Wars Episode I,’” said Ohler’s brother, Kent Ohler. “You have to like him to some degree, just because the name’s still stuck. But at the end of the day, he’s just not freakin’ right.”
Ron Paul’s fans listened as the retired lawmaker’s chief aides encouraged Texas to secede from the United States.
“The America we thought we knew, ladies and gentlemen, is a mirage. It’s a memory. It’s a foreign country — and that’s precisely why we should take secession seriously,” said Jeff Deist, the 12-term congressman’s former press secretary and chief of staff.
“We’ve been conquered,” said Deist, the event’s first speaker. “We’ve been occupied by the state, and its phony veneer of democratic elections. Why not seek out ways to split apart, rationally and nonviolently? Why dismiss secession, the pragmatic alternative that’s staring us all in the face?”
Deist agreed with other speakers at the event, which was organized by the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute, who suggested there was “nothing stopping” Texas from leaving the U.S. to rejoin Mexico.
“I think Mexico is in many ways far freer than the United States,” Deist said.
The newspaper reported that speakers encouraged individual Americans to “secede” from the U.S. by homeschooling their children, attending less mainstream colleges, buying gold and foreign currencies, and stockpiling food, fuel, guns, and cash.
Ron Paul wrote in an online column this month that conditions in the U.S. would need to dramatically worsen before Americans realized the system was irretrievably broken.
“Before we can actually restore our liberties, we most likely will have to become a lot less free and much poorer,” Ron Paul predicted.
Rand Paul is similarly downbeat about conditions in the U.S., but he’s optimistic that new leadership – himself, perhaps – could restore its founding ideals.
But his father’s supporters doubt that Rand Paul could satisfy their hunger for a true libertarian – even if he were simply faking his “neoconservative” political stances like a “libertarian ‘Manchurian Candidate.’”
“It’s dumb — it’s so many layers,” said Chris Williams, who attended the secession conference.