The Beauty of Ron Paul

Let me get the caveats out of the way first.  First, I don’t think Ron Paul has a chance in hell of ever being a presidential nominee, much less of actually ever getting elected president.  Second, even if he did manage, by some freak accident, to get elected, I don’t think a Paul presidency would be the panacea that some of his more rabid supporters seem to believe it would be (same goes for Nader, by the way).  In other words, I don’t think Ron Paul is a savior or a saint, although I do think that the cries of “reactionary” by certain leftish types are a bit overstated and based largely on ignorance of what his actual positions are and the ridiculous assumption that the government we’re currently saddled with is the result of some kind of inevitable “progress” and that any talk of rolling it back is just a barely concealed yearning to return to the dark ages, or some such nonsense.

But anyway, on to the point.  The great thing about Ron Paul is that he has this effect on the so-called conservatives in our midst:

Libertarians and Conservatives are as different as Libertarians and Liberals. The truth is libertarians are the worst form of political affiliation in the nation. Combining the desire of economic greed, with the amoral desire to promote any behavior regardless of its cost to our culture is a stark departure from the intent of the Founding Fathers.

And given the fact that the Ron Paul-toting, uber-disrespectful and, in many ways, disruptive ballot stuffing has wrecked the straw poll results, pinging completely unelectable candidates in two of the top three slots, perhaps more significance should be paid to the straw poll to be conducted by the conference that happens in the fall called the “Values Voters Conference.”

You might think Ron Paul had showed up at the church dance with 20 friends, all of them stumbling-down-drunk, and wagged his dick at the ladies before peeing on the Rice Krispie treats and passing out.  And while I’m at it, let me just point out the absolutely ham-fisted construction of that second paragraph, not to mention the clunky compound adjectives and bizarre word choices: “Ron Paul-toting”?  “uber-disrespectful”? “pinging”?

The argument is even more bizarre, though pretty much standard fare as far as conservative critiques of libertarianism go.  Libertarians don’t “desire economic greed,” they desire economic self-determination, even if some of them confuse this idea with apologetics for corporatism.  As for the idea that they desire to “promote any behavior regardless of its cost to our culture”: 1) there’s a difference between promoting a behavior and opposition to throwing people in jail for engaging in said behavior; and 2) I’d say the desire to repress certain behaviors is more of a threat to “our culture”—a culture supposedly built on respect for individual liberty—than a few people smoking weed or “gay marriage.”

Those who don’t understand the first point are idiots.  Those who do yet still advocate punishing people for engaging in behavior they disapprove of are asshole authoritarians who don’t deserve any respect.  As for the second point, I’ll just add that it’s a bit ironic seeing self-described conservatives breaking out such collectivist chestnuts to justify pushing people around.

Libertarian elements, because of their strange combination of policies that add up to anarchy without moral limits, don’t mix with conservative ideals.

That’s right.  Let’s get rid of the conservative ideals then and bring on the anarchy.

(Also, I have to say, I really love that part of the outrage directed at the Paulistas is because one of them called Dick Cheney a war criminal.  This is described as “slandering a public servant.”  I’m not sure which is funnier: the idea that Dick Cheney is not a war criminal, or that his career in government could somehow be described as public service.)

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6 thoughts on “The Beauty of Ron Paul

  1. Blaming libertarians for greed is how Conservative Republicans take the greed heat off themselves.

    If there’s a more money-greedy political stance than “conservative Republican,” I’d like to know about it.

    I think Democrats of all stripes are power-greedy and moreso than the GOP. They are greedy for the power to run things and in turn, the power to punish Republicans. Between the two parties, the Democrats are the more spiteful and childish.

    The GOP is just greedy for money. They equate money with power, which makes them the more realistic of the two D vs R parties.

    The Dems have it backward — they want power, and they expect to make money once in power. They do this not because they aim first for money, but because they think their own “merit” means they deserve to make money via Govt power.

    The political game circa 2011 is to accuse your adversary of things that are your own worst traits. Israel perfected this in its public affairs statements regarding Palestine, and now everyone’s following Israel’s lead. Karl Rove really worked hard on this theme during Bush43’s first term. He used it to accuse Islamic “terrorists” of doing terrorizing things while Bush43 planned to domestically terrorize innocent citizens via “homeland security” etc.

    It is indeed great fun to watch “conservative Republicans” have an epileptic fit over Ron Paul’s positions — both the real positions, and the ones that are made up or lampooned.

    • I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a conservative criticize libertarians for being greedy before. I have heard the one about eroding the fabric of society by letting people do whatever they want, though, plenty of times. Maybe this is the difference between more business-oriented conservatives and the so-called “values voters.” Although, in my experience (with some exceptions), people who vote Republican tend to be all gung-ho for markets–except for the kind that deal in things they don’t like, like porn and “illicit” drugs. Greed never seems to be an issue.

      Yeah, my favorite Ron Paul moment is still when he talked about blowback in one of the Republican debates back in ’08, and Rudy G. puffed himself up with faux-outrage, acting like he couldn’t believe somebody would actually even entertain such a thought.

  2. Also — when I refer to Dems and Repubs above, I mean the individual party members, not the politicians. At the politician level, they all want money and power, D and R alike. The Rs have the naked money ambition, the Ds have the ambition to gain power and through power, to get money… to direct the money toward those with “merit.”

  3. Yeah the GOP’s voters have those splits in attitude and goal.

    The “values voters” –who I still call by Falwell’s label Moral Majority– they’re not indifferent to money or wealth, they just want their social/psychological issues handled by Mother’s Brother Samuel and if that’s taken care of then yes, thank you very much, they’ll take a slice of that money-hungry greed perspective too.

    Among the Repubs, the Moral Majority are very like the Democrat voters in that they want to punish their adversary. In fact I’d argue the reason why the Democrats now, in 2011, are such vengeful little schoolgirls is because of the remnants of party memory regarding Falwell and how Falwell encouraged a spiteful, hate-the-other stance. The silly, ineffectual Dems saw and experienced that stuff, as well as Dukakis’s famous cold distance in several contexts — his aloof refusal to engage in mudslinging, is what I really mean here — and decided that in order to (cough cough) Win the Future (cough cough) they would have to “play dirty” like Falwell.

    Which, to them, in practice, looks like being spiteful catty young girls of the sort often mocked in Hollywood teen/young adult movies (Heathers, Mean Girls are two I know of). Or, when not acting like vengeful teens, they are pretending to be (great irony) morally superior to the Moral Majority.

    This problem is what George Lakoff was trying to address in “Moral Politics,” a book where he did a good job of assessing the functional problems of the Dems, but instead of offering good solutions that would improve things for everyone, he instead offered a script of Continue the Epic Battle of Dem vs Repub in Spin-World. In other words, he doesn’t want the Democrats to be a force for improving America… he just wants them to do better when spitting invective from a partisan perspective.

    Most every Democrat I know follows the general descriptions I’ve stated above. Among my Republican friends I think all of them would qualify as Business Republicans, or Country Club Republicans — aligning themselves with The Party of the Rich, in other words. Some of those friends have undertones of Moral Majority but most of them are actually pretty liberal, on social issues. Where they sound like the Moral Majority is essentially in criticism of Politically Correct issues, policies, legislation from the Democrats.

  4. That pretty much sums up the attitudes of the Republicans I know, too. They really like to attack pc, even to the point of engaging in casual bigotry, or at least making jokes designed to get a reaction out of any liberals who might happen to be within earshot. A lot of the Dems I know tend to take an attitude of superiority toward their opponents, who are by defintion benighted and backward. I’m sure this ties in with the merit-based outlook you were describing above.

  5. Pingback: Show me you really care « scattershot

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