Libertarianism is, at its heart, focused on the freedoms and liberties of individuals to live their lives unencumbered by governmental interference. It’s a fine ideal, but the reality is that it’s impossible to achieve in its total form in any society: government exists to impose order while providing services that no one else would provide.

Enter Rand Paul, the son of perhaps the best practitioner of libertarianism there is, Ron Paul. Yet somehow, he has come up with the Tea Party, probably thanks to some of his more extremist views. So yes, while Ron Paul was a wingnut sometimes, he was a well reasoned wingnut.

Rand Paul is an Ophthalmologist by training, after quitting Baylor before completing his undergraduate work, but attended Duke Medical School. So yes, the eyes have it…

Paul is a third-term congressman who opposes gun control, and opposes large portions of the Patriot Act. He’s pro-life, and is against same-sex marriage, but believes it should be determined at the state level. In fact, states’ rights are a big deal in his book, as he also opposes federal land grabs from the states.

He’s in favor of a balanced budget amendment, elimination of the Federal Reserve Bank, and supports a flat tax on individuals and corporations. He has voted against raising the debt ceiling, and even proposed cutting over $500 billion from the federal budget in one year by severely cutting the budgets of the Department of Education and Homeland Security, rolling the Department of Education into the Defense Department, and eliminating HUD and international aid payments. And that was all in his first year in Congress.

Oddly though, he supports American military intervention abroad and blames Iraq War detractors for causing the current violence in that country.

What’s particularly curious about his candidacy as opposed in particular to those of most other Republican candidates, is that he’s attracted a very large and young activist base of supporters. While Ron Paul has been around Republican politics since the ’80s, he was always considered to be part of the lunatic fringe. But Rand, with a decisively more radical tone, has been elevating his national profile and attracting those who appear to be the conservative disenfranchised.

With the way the Republican field is rapidly filling up, his higher profile will probably help raise his performance, but as with all of the fringe candidates, he shouldn’t be able to carry the base.