Ron Paul's Roots

Here’s a piece in this week’s issue I did about Ron Paul, his ideological roots and the fierce internal divisons between different factions of the American libertarian movement:

Self-identified libertarians may be a tiny portion of the electorate, but small numbers have never stood in the way of bitter intramural sectarian disputes. When Lindsey says that Paul "comes from a different part of the libertarian universe than I do," he's referring to the libertarian version of the Trotsky/Lenin split, which opened up in the early 1980s and continues to echo through libertarianism today.

The division between paleolibertarians, centered around the Mises Institute, and cosmopolitan libertarians, centered around Cato, is also a case of “culture clash,” according to Justin Raimondo, editorial director of and prominent member of the Mises set. “There’s the populist wing of the libertarian movement, and then there’s the Washington crowd that’s still trying to sell libertarianism, or their version of it, to elites. These people want to go along and get along. As long as they can abort their babies and sodomize each other and take as many drugs as they want to, they are happy. They don’t care who is being killed in Iraq and how many Iraqis are dying. That’s their hierarchy of values.”

As you can tell, there’s no love lost between the two camps. One DC-based libertarian—who asked not to be named because he “would like to avoid getting endless 2 am calls from nuts yelling at me for not agreeing with the gold standard”—told me he thinks Rockwell is “one of the most loathsome people ever to set foot on this continent.”

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

Join Chris’s email list.