Monday, August 13, 2018

Interview from the Archive: Paul 'RamZPaul' Ramsey on libertarianism's failure to transform American conservatism

Editor's note: This interview was originally published on January 20, 2017.

Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

Nowadays, a video camera and Web streaming can get you farther than most once thought possible. Paul Ramsey, though, has taken the basics to a new level. The nationalistic humorist does not have graphics, soundtracks, or split-screens, but only himself, his stream-of-consciousness style, and no small amount to say about the political and cultural happenings of our time.

To say that he marches to the beat of his own drum is an understatement.

Reviled by neo-Nazis – none of whom will get even passing mention here – as a race traitor par excellence and castigated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “[a] scathing critic of ‘cultural Marxism’ …. who posts Internet videos of himself talking to the camera …. he has uploaded hundreds of liberal-loathing, feminist-bashing, and racial separatist-supporting videos”, Ramsey can hardly catch a break.

Already well known to millions through his RamZPaul account on YouTube, he attained Internet infamy after parting ways with anything and everything Alt-Right – which followed Richard Spencer hailing Trump and receiving an enthusiastic not-at-all-Roman salute.

“Most normal people can support the Alt Right ideas of self-determination, protection of borders, good trade deals, America First, etc,” Ramsey wrote on his website late last month. “But normal people can't support anything that is associated with Nazism …. The Alt Right was a phenomenon that helped launch Trump into the White House. Now that he has been elected, there is no need for the ‘alternative’ label. We are now the Trump Right.”

At the dawn of the Donald’s presidential administration, Ramsey shares his views on some timely topics. This is the first of three articles spanning a most lively discussion.


Joseph Ford Cotto: A few years ago, certain political forecasters claimed that the future of America's center-right belongs to libertarians. Since the 2012 presidential election, protectionism has surged in both major parties. Now, in the age of Trump, libertarianism's once-ascendant nature seems a distant memory. Would you say that right-libertarian politics have any serious potential under Trump?

Paul Ramsey: The outsourcing of jobs in the United States due to Free Trade policies has been devastating to middle-class Americans. The migration of jobs started decades ago with blue collar factory workers. Now, with the advent of the Internet, we are seeing many high paying white collar jobs outsourced to lower cost countries.

While Free Trade does lower the cost of goods, that is little consolation to the former middle-class Americas who are out of a job or are required to take a lower wage job.

I am sure economists can produce fancy charts and graphs explaining why a Free Trade policy is good. However, Americans tend to be pragmatic. If this does not translated to a higher standard of living, they will reject it.

Cotto: More than anything else, why did libertarianism fail to fundamentally transform the American conservative movement?

Ramsey: The image of [the] fat, naked man at the Libertarian convention symbolized how the Libertarian party has become somewhat a joke.

Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand have been replaced with Gary Johnson. Brilliant minds have been reduced to that of a druggie that was unfamiliar with Aleppo.

Cotto: Economic protectionism was said to be a dead idea; something relegated to the pre-World War II era. Nonetheless, it has found enduring popularity. Now, protectionism is primed to define American conservatism during the years to come. Why does the future look so bright for an idea that, over the last few generations, has been castigated ruthlessly?

Ramsey: America was founded with economic protectionism. The period of Free Trade was only successful after WW2 because half the world was Communist and the other half was in ruins. Those days are over.

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