For a group of people who supposedly pride themselves on the principles laid down in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other U.S. foundational documents, one would expect a genuine and enlightened debate instead of groundless emoting. Nevertheless, in response to Young Americans for Freedom’s (YAF) decision to expel Rep. Ron Paul from its board of advisors, the only line from pro-Ron Paul mouthpieces has been deflection. Addressing the blatant failures of Paul’s foreign policy — and/or his utter disregard for the threat posed by radical Islamists — is not permitted by any of his supporters. Best, if not most amusing, among the critiques defending the Paul line was penned by Christopher Preble and published in The Daily Caller. Preble is the director of the esteemed libertarian Cato Institute’s foreign policy studies. Despite his title, Preble’s article stands as a case study for the illogical reasoning and retorts offered by Ron Paul’s defenders. What’s worse is that this is the norm coming out of this group.
Immediately following YAF’s expulsion of Paul, his supporters scrambled to affirm the narrative they’ve been honing for years: “Ron Paul is being painted as a fringe figure by the fearful ‘establishment’ because he is the true embodiment of Republican values.” In this case, YAF got to play the “establishment.” The Paul camp has only been able to offer specious arguments to defend their chosen one’s honor. First step for Paul-defenders was to include a bit on how “irrelevant” YAF has become. So irrelevant, that in 2001 Rep. Paul honored YAF and praised the Sharon Statement in Congress. Ron Paul still displays the award he won from the group on his official House of Representatives website. No mention is made about his pet group, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). For such a web-savvy representative (who just had his website updated on February 11) it draws into question which groups are truly extraneous. YAF’s added “unimportance” was also demonstrated when Paul didn’t step down from the organization even after YAL was formed in 2008.
In light of the very concise argument put down by YAF Vice-Chairman Christopher Bedford, Preble tried to obfuscate the issue of Rep. Paul’s expulsion by turning YAF into a big-government-supporting “neo-conservative” organization. To Preble, YAF only wanted “neoconservatives who generally favor government intervention, both at home and abroad” in the broader conservative movement. In a feat of rarely-matched logical-fallacy, he went so far as to argue that YAF’s support of supposedly “aggressive U.S. militarism” necessitated that YAF and members like Christopher Bedford expressed “support for federal expansions.”
Contrary to the accusations and representative of YAF’s “big tent” mentality, Mr. Bedford’s tenure as executive editor of YAF’s The New Guard magazine has been one which welcomed countless articles in support of libertarian views (in addition to a number of other conservative positions). The magazine hosted articles combating attempted FCC control of the Internet, fighting against “unconstitutional” healthcare, opposing the nationalization of student loans, and even one entitled, “Will the Real John Galt Please Stand Up?: A Brief Examination of the GOP’s Failure to Defend Capitalism” (note: I am just including articles from two editions of New Guard). In his first New Guard article of his tenure, Bedford even commented that, “We are, indeed, on what Frederick Hayek called ‘the road to serfdom.’” Not really the purview of an individual or group which, according to Preble, supports “spiraling debt, a loose interpretation of the Constitution, a growing state apparatus at home, and endless nation-building missions.”