Stephen Bainbridge outlines a conservative case against Ron Paul (via Instapundit). Some of Bainbridge's issues don't bother me -- he's a conservative, and I am not. But Bainbridge leaves out the main reason to not support him: he's a kook. He's your crazy uncle, if you have one. Charming, well, I think so. Lovable, sure. Funny, when compared to, say, Mitt Romney, who is the ultimate blow-dried politician. Yes, I'd like to see a Republican Party with more Ron Paul in it. I think that the New Deal and Great Society were big mistakes, and that we'd be a lot better off today with much less government than we have now.
But what Ron Paul and many libertarians don't understand is that Americans are naturally conservative, in the sense that they tend to resist radical change. Sure, they say they want "change," but they want change within a certain range. The real challenge for a serious libertarian is finding a path from here to where we want to be. A way of unwinding the administrative/welfare state.
Even if you agree that we'd be a lot better off with less government -- and I do -- the fact is that people do depend on government programs right now. It's all well and good to say we'd be better off thirty years from now if we adopted more libertarian policies, but if you want to sustain a transition to a more limited government, you have to find some way to ameliorate the transition. And that is a question that Ron Paul seems not to even have thought about.