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free-market advocate ron paul turns down voluntary exchange, opts for state intervention

February 1, 2013

From Techdirt:

Ron Paul, UN Hater, Asks UN To Take RonPaul.com Forcefully From Ron Paul’s Biggest Supporters

So there’s a ‘free market’ solution (at a cost of $250,000), but Ron Paul would rather turn down a voluntary exchange in favour of opting for ‘government intervention’ on the part of the UN (via WIPO)—an organization he’s criticized for years as, among other things, a threat to US sovereignty? It almost sounds like an Onion article, and I think his complaint evinces a weakness (one might even say a contradiction) in his political philosophy.

On the one hand, it can be argued (albeit weakly, in my opinion) that Ron Paul has a common law trademark on ‘Ron Paul,’ so he has a ‘right’ to request the domain name be turned over to him without any compensation whatsoever, which is consistent with libertarianism’s fetishization of property rights and their enforcement. It can also be argued that you can be against something philosophically, but since it’s there, you might as well use it.

On the other, it seems a bit petty and hypocritical to me seeing as how the person or persons who currently own ronpaul.com legally purchased a license to own that domain, and Paul would rather go to the UN and have ICANN force them to hand over the domain than pay the asking price or make a counteroffer despite having done nothing in the last 4 1/2 years to acquire it while they helped make it into a massive online community (including a contact list of 170,000+ email addresses) supporting Paul and his campaigns (they were even willing to give him ronpaul.org for free). And that’s not even addressing the arguable speciousness of Paul’s charge of ‘bad faith,’ which I think the article does a good job of deflating.

The lesson I take from this is that the free market’s great and the UN’s a threat to our constitution—unless you don’t get your way, then it’s cool to run to a UN agency and have them forcibly remove someone’s property for you. Just another example of how libertarian, capitalistic self-interest is ultimately self-refuting, i.e., it’s in his best self-interest to take advantage of the very institution he feels to be a threat to our liberty when it suits his needs.

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