This morning, Will Hinton sent me a post with the alarming title “Libertarian Enemy Number One: Ron Paul.” Since I follow nearly anything related to the Ron Paul phenomenon, I checked it out.

The gist of the post is that Paul’s answer to the YouTube debate question about the Council of Foreign Relations and secret plans to make a North American Union actually did damage to the Libertarian cause.

Here’s how Paul answered the question:

Well, it all depends on what you mean by “all of this.” the CFR exists, the Trilateral Commission exists. And it’s a, quote, “conspiracy of ideas.” This is an ideological battle. Some people believe in globalism. Others of us believe in national sovereignty.

And there is a move on toward a North American Union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and eventually ended up. So we had NAFTA and moving toward a NAFTA highway. These are real things. It’s not somebody made these up. It’s not a conspiracy. They don’t talk about it, and they might not admit about it, but there’s been money spent on it. There was legislation passed in the Texas legislature unanimously to put a halt on it. They’re planning on millions of acres taken by eminent domain for an international highway from Mexico to Canada, which is going to make the immigration problem that much worse.

So it’s not so much a secretive conspiracy, it’s a contest between ideologies, whether we believe in our institutions here, our national sovereignty, our Constitution, or are we going to further move into the direction of international government, more U.N.

You know, this country goes to war under U.N. resolutions. I don’t like big government in Washington, so I don’t like this trend toward international government. We have a WTO that wants to control our drug industry, our nutritional products. So, I’m against all that.

But it’s not so much as a sinister conspiracy. It’s just knowledge is out there. If we look for it, you’ll realize that our national sovereignty is under threat.

Here’s how Hinton thinks Paul should have answered instead…

“I’m certainly familiar with organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations but I don’t believe in conspiracy theories per se and quite frankly I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I am a conspiracy theorist. Regarding my supporters, I am drawing from all across the political spectrum because of my support of freedom. And yes, even those who believe in conspiracy theories believe in freedom as well.”

Here’s my problem with Hinton’s argument. He’s saying that Paul should become a better politician instead of actually answering the question. Because let’s be honest, the answer that Hinton came up with is a sidestep. And for anybody who has followed Ron Paul and his campaign, they’ll know that the reason his supporters like him (and more importantly, TRUST him) is he’s willing to actually answer questions instead of sidestepping them the way Hinton suggests he should.

And let’s be clear…Paul believes that a North American Union is on its way. So his answer was an attempt to reframe the argument to support that position. Personally, I thought his points about NAFTA, the international highway and the eventual formation of a European Union spoke to how calling a North American Union a conspiracy could be seen as a naive stance. That speaks to people. Maybe not enough people to get him the GOP nomination, but certainly not JUST the conspiracy crowd.

The one place Ron Paul faltered was mentioning the Trilateral Commission when the questioner didn’t bring it up. But was that enough to call him an enemy to the Libertarian cause? Hardly. In fact, he’s the biggest boon to the Libertarian cause since, well, since a helluva long time.

Question to you Libertarians out there…what did you think of Paul’s answer?

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