Julian Assange Praised the Paul Family, But He's Only Half Right


Julian Assange, the controversial founder of Wikileaks, the website that leaked thousands of top-secret U.S. government communications, is still alive and well. During a streaming Q&A session last week, he praised the Pauls (Ron and Rand) for being “the strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attack on Wikileaks." He even said that their libertarian ideas are what “will be the driver that shifts the United States around.”

Assange is certainly right about Ron. The former Texas representative has always been a vocal opponent of his government's liberty-killing actions, including the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, drone strikes, foreign military bases, and many more. He even praised whistleblowers like Assange, saying they “expose the fallacies of why we go to war.”

However, Assange may have missed the news concerning Rand while he's been in exile at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. While the son of Ron has made a very inspiring filibuster, using the word “libertarian” to describe him is questionable. Unlike his father, Rand doesn't want to legalize drugs, even if he has realized that the War on Drugs is costly, destroys lives for an innocent mistake, and is racist. Also, although he filibustered against foreign drone strikes, he doesn't seem to object to domestic drone strikes and merely wants to regulate them rather than ban them altogether like his father wants to do.

Finally, Rand doesn't seem to have the sympathy his father has for whistleblowers. He recently said that Bradley Manning deserved to be tried because of the potential harm his leaks could cause for U.S. agents abroad (note that he used the word '"potential"). Rand Paul had similar opinions about Edward Snowden, even though he once saw him as committing an act of civil disobedience.

Since many sense that the Kentucky senator is a likely presidential candidate for 2016, Assange's endorsement is not likely to help Paul. Many influential Republicans (and Democrats) see Assange as a traitor and want him tried or summarily executed. Considering that to have a serious shot at being on the ballot (and considered by the media) one has to work the streets, Paul will have to reject whatever libertarian sympathy he has( which is not much), and distance himself from Assange.

Unless he wants to be a very principled man like his father, Rand Paul is very likely to reject Assange's support. He really seems to be interested in being president, and modern presidents seem to be unavoidably against small governments and in favor of opacity and violations of the Constitution.