both sides of the debate. And it's shone a light on a long-standing division within the libertarian community. If you haven't seen the video, here it is:
Let us be clear: we like a lot of the work Reason does, and Golden State Liberty wouldn't be what it is today without the exposure that some of its contributors have given to our work. Nonetheless, we think that Mangu-Ward and Reason are in the wrong here, if their goal is really to advocate libertarian ideas and libertarian politicians. For one thing, it appears that her statements have roots in the long-standing tensions between Koch-sponsored institutions like Reason, Cato, and George Mason economics on one hand, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell on the other. We won't bore anyone with the details, but suffice it to say that Reason is part of that wing of libertarianism that believes in electoral politics, lobbying, and advocacy as the path to a freer society. These folks are often dismissive of the Rothbardian-anarchist-leaning LvMI, which tends to eschew politics and embrace scholarship. So it can't feel good seeing a guy from the Mises Institute camp drawing so much popular attention in the electoral arena. In other words, Mangu-Ward's dismissal of Paul reeks of professional jealousy.
Her comments are also unfortunate from a practical perspective. Put simply, if you're going to trust in electoral politics to advance your ideals, which her employer does, then it's puzzling to slam the only candidate whose principles are remotely consistent with Reason's. We know enough libertarians to accept that not all of them are enthused about Paul's candidacy, but can anyone honestly say that a Paul presidency wouldn't be the most liberty-friendly one anyone alive can remember? (We grant that the bar is low.) He might not be perfect, but he's far more libertarian than any other candidate in the field. And if the retort is that he has no chance of winning, why on earth is she bringing up Gary Johnson, a perfectly nice (if intellectually muddled) candidate with nowhere near the money or the exposure of Ron Paul?
(UPDATED: To clarify: libertarians who eschew electoral politics are perfectly free to choose not to support any politician's campaign. Since Mangu-Ward falls into this group, her "libertarian bona fides" shouldn't be questioned. One wonders why Fox thought she'd be a good person to speak on the subject of Paul's media coverage. But otherwise, we'd still criticize her comments for being inelegant and not terribly insightful.)