No two lovers of liberty view every political issue and strategy in the same way. But there does seem to be emerging these days among libertarians two broad general ways of seeing the world. Both start with the same libertarian axiom and corollary, but human beings choose what they want to perceive and axiom-focused libertarians see a different world than corollary-focused libertarians.
All libertarians want to "live and let live," with "living life to the fullest" being the axiomatic principle and "letting live" (the Non-Aggression Principle) being an important corollary. But what happens if the corollary gains more importance in one's mind than the axiom? In other words, what if someone measures everything by "letting live," neglecting to first measure by "living life to the fullest?"
It's tempting to say, "Nothing happens because the two are so interdependent. One cannot live life to the fullest without letting live, and one cannot let live without...." Oops! It doesn't work in reverse, does it? One can indeed let live and yet not live life to the fullest. So the question still waits an answer. What happens if one tries to reverse the corollary and the axiom?
If your answer is, "Well, it's kind of like burying your head in the sand. Self-imposed blindness starts occurring" ... then you might be one whose head is not in the sand.
Another answer might be something like, "Well, if you reverse the two you start seeing a fantasy world of your own making instead of the real world." And therein lies the difference between these two libertarian world views: the real world libertarians, and the make believe world libertarians; which in the current election cycle might have some libertarians arguing, "Better sand than Rand!" while others counter with, "Better Rand than sand!"
The most obvious difference occurs in the area of foreign policy. How many times have you heard friends or neighbors say something like, "Libertarians have a lot of good ideas and I would support them ... except they have their heads in the sand when it comes to foreign policy!" These friends and neighbors are not blind.
Libertarians who place "let live" on a pedestal in their minds above "live" have a vested interest in looking at belligerents in foreign countries and saying something like, "Let them fight it out. They are no threat to us." 99% of the time this is probably good policy. But what about the other 1%? Corollary-focused libertarians blind themselves to real world threats in order to remain loyal to their pedestal god of "let live."
Rand Paul doesn't blind himself in this respect. Although he would surely honor the corollary "let live" in 99 out of 100 foreign policy circumstances, he is open-eyed enough to recognize real threats in the real world. It might be said that Rand is 99% a non-interventionist, yet he is willing to rationally weigh the clearly stated threats of the most ideological insane foreign aggressors ... and willing to take reasonable action accordingly. He doesn't say, "What are they to us? They haven't attacked us yet."
To see this difference in a hypothetical illustration from history, imagine Rand Paul had been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1938 instead of Neville Chamberlain. Rand would have recognized Hitler's intentions for what they were and taken appropriate action so that World War II might well have been averted, or if not prevented altogether at least its horrible effects of pain, suffering, death and destruction vastly reduced. On the other hand, if a head-in-the-sand libertarian had been Prime Minister, Hitler would have been allowed to build strength and take over weaker countries as he pleased. After all, "let them fight it out."
De facto appeasement in the guise of honoring the corollary "let live" leads to horrible sabotage of the much more fundamental axiom "live."
But then worsening the damage ... habits, once formed in mind in one area of thought tend to expand to other areas of thought. The habit of refusing to see real foreign threats can easily morph into a habit of refusing to see reality in domestic affairs.
Recently there has been an argument circulating which goes something like this: "Rand Paul tries to win support of Republican establishment types! Therefore, using the finest guilt by association reasoning, he is one of them!" Or the lazy man's generic version: "All Republicans are alike!" Do you see the self-induced blindness required to make such arguments?
Wouldn't it be amazing if Rand Paul's calling on earth was far beyond winning a presidential nomination or influencing the the overall mind-set of the public? Wouldn't it be amazing if Rand Paul also had a secret mission: help libertarians pull their heads out of the sand.
What if head-in-sand libertarians, sensing the value of Rand's efforts, decide they have had enough of their uncomfortable stiff-neck posture? We can imagine Rand lending them a hand to help them straighten into an upright bearing. We can envision them stretching happily with newly felt freedom, inhaling a deep breath of healthy fresh air, and then suddenly blurting out with a laugh as it dawns on them:
"Out of the sand,
With Rand I stand!"
With Rand I stand!"
The device which even more deeply prepares freedom lovers for success, A Course in Miracles , talks about our ultimate need to free ourselves from every kind of slavery:
You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of your self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.
Also available free of charge online:
Course in Relationship Miracles