Posted by Damozel | Should a campaign be known by the company it keeps? Even though he's wrapped himself up tight in the Constitution, Paul hasn't been able to prevent alarm and despondency among his comparatively sane followers after he showed he was prepared to welcome the white supremacists and conspiracy theorists into his little red white and blue tent.
Why so squeamish, guys? Isn't the price of giving you your freedom from "big government" giving those whom you view as nutbars and whackjobs theirs? Can there ever be such a thing as too high a price to pay for freedom from "government aggression" and "collectivist thinking"?
And even if you look askance at some of your fellow Paulites, isn't it collectivist thinking to hold this against them as a group or---in the words of a Paul supporter I know---"tar Paul with the same feather"?
Nevertheless, some of Paul's freedom-loving followers have "institutionalized group thinking" to the point of deciding that there are some groups with whom they don't wish to make common cause, thank you very much.
Ron Chusid of Liberal Values discusses the increasing meltdown of support for Paul among supporters who don't appreciate having to share a candidate with "racists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and conspiracy theorists."
At first the question was whether Paul was sane. Next the question will be whether anyone who supports Paul is totally sane. Of course simply reading the comments from his strongest supporters who spam the blogosphere already provides a clue on that one. The bottom line is that people want to be certain that the person they vote for as president is sane and rational. Paul seems to go out of his way to encourage doubts. .... I expect an increasing number of libertarians, classical liberals, and paleoconservatives who have considered supporting Paul to realize that association with Ron Paul will act to discredit their views and make it difficult to be taken seriously. Paul can be the candidate of libertarian ideas or can be the candidate of right wing extremists and conspiracy theorists. He cannot be both and it is increasingly clear which path Paul has chosen. (Paul Meltdown Accelerates)
Bithead at Bitsblog---who,
amusingly, has the same view of liberalism
as I do of libertarianism ("adolescent mindset")---points out that Paul
has had time enough already to renounce his association with the country's many entertaining or scary Mad Hatters. If he's going to, of course.
Which is approximately the same time he’ll have my support. The screaming about this has been going on for weeks now, and frankly there is no longer any excuse whatsoever for him not to break that association. On that basis there’s no reason for any sane individual to support of any longer. Game over. (Ron Paul on the Tinfoil show today… again)
Meanwhile---as I learned from Chusid's article--- the libertarians and Libertarians are breaking up with him with varying degrees of disillusionment, pettishness, pathos, and heartfelt sorrow:
The author of The Liberty Papers, like many an angry girlfriend breaking up with a too-undiscriminating beloved, has had enough of Ron Paul's creepy friends:
For some more pandering to the Troofers and other conspiracy theorist whackjobs. I’ll listen for anything of note, but as of now, I’m done with Ron Paul.
The Ron Paul campaign has unfortunately become a gathering place for 9/11 “Truther” morons, racists, neo-Nazis, Southern secessionists, fascists, conspiracy theorists, wannabe authoritarians, Birchers, and nativists that I do not want to be associated with..... If a candidate thinks its alright to make common cause with these people, especially one who is running a “principled” campaign on restoring liberty, than I have to question his conscience for aligning with these people at best and question his ability to lead at worst. I’ve come to the conclusion that a Ron Paul candidacy unless he repudiates these people who do not share the belief in liberty, will harm the overall freedom movement by giving the impression to the American people that “freedom” and “liberty” are just code words for fascism, racism, and conspiracy mongering like the “New World Order” and the “North American Union”.... Until then, this classical liberal is not a part of the Ron Paul Revolution. (Ron Paul Makes Thanksgiving Eve Appearance With Alex Jones)
Publius Endures appears to think that Paul is carrying all this freedom business too far by trying to sell it to people who don't know what it means. In a poignant cri de coeur entitled Why Ron, Why?, Publius mourns Paul's failure to do what's good for libertarianism.
Ron Paul could either be the best or worst thing to happen to libertarianism in decades. In order for him to be good for libertarianism (and for that matter, the country), he has to either win or, more likely, make people think. Continuing to seek out the support of 9/11 Truthers and nutcases is the surest way to ensure that his appeal remains exceedingly limited and to ensure that libertarianism as a philosophy becomes irreparably associated with these nutcases. In other words- actively seeking out the support of these people hurts both the Paul campaign and the libertarian philosophy more generally, (Why Ron, Why?)
And makes me laugh out loud with this:
Alas, the personality cult of Ron Paul continues to grow, while the core philosophy of libertarianism becomes less and less important to the "netroots." In his interview with Jay Leno, Rep. Paul pointed out....that while he is personally not perfect, freedom is. Well, now that the Ron Paul movement has started to hit the mainstream, making appeals for money to people who have no understanding of the word "freedom" hurts rather than hinders the freedom message (not to mention the campaign more generally)..
I don't think the problem, "Publius" (if that is your name), is that these people don't understand the word "freedom." I think they understand it perfectly. They want to be free to pursue their individual agendas---no matter how looney or dangerous to the community these may be---without hindrance from either the government or a lot earnest libertarians, tax protesters, and free market advocates with golden dollar signs in their eyes. And anyway, what the hell does it even mean to say that freedom is "perfect"? The statement doesn't even make sense. Perfect for whom and in what context? Perfect when weighed against what other potentially conflicting values? Perfect under what specific circumstances?
I can't help laughing at the dismay of L/libertarians confronted with the real-world consequences of their political philosophy. The author of The Liberty Papers is mightily upset to find himself/herself in the company of "“Truther” morons, racists, neo-Nazis, Southern secessionists, fascists, conspiracy theorists, wannabe authoritarians, Birchers, and nativists." Why is that? After all: Have not morons/racists/neo-Nazis/secessionists/fascists/authoritarians/Birchers/nativists eyes? Have they not organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? If you prick them do they not bleed? If you tickle them do they not laugh? If you crave freedom, do they not likewise? If you elevate freedom far above any other value (including social justice and the good of the community), you need to accept that you're unleashing the Tinfoil Hatters along with the free market advocates and tax protesters. If you are fighting for freedom for all, you can't pick and choose who gets to use it.
I remember the days before the ugly intervention of the Democratic party and the Warren Courts unleashed liberalism on everyone and made taxpayers pay to keep a roof over the head of the children of unskilled laborers and ensure they'd have something to eat even if their parents didn't make enough to feed them, unless of course concerned citizens realized that it was in the community's best interests not to create a hungry underclass and tossed them a few charitable crumbs.
The government stayed out of people's lives then. There was glorious freedom everywhere.
Allie May, who worked for my parents, was free to leave her children with her sister in her tiny, shack-like house (no one had thought of housing projects, of course) and spend her days babysitting me. My parents were free to pay her a pittance for her labor (which was still much more generous than most) because the free market prevailed and she was unskilled and if she didn't want the job at those prices, she was free to quit her job and try to find another. The white taxpayers were free to send their children to excellent well-equipped schools in their own neighborhoods while the black taxpayers---who didn't pay nearly as much----were free to send their children to run-down, barely equipped schools in theirs.
There was no such thing as political correctness or sexual harassment. People were free not only to be as racist or unhinged as they liked but to apply those views to others in government, in the workplace, in the educational system, or in various positions of responsibility. There were no, or minimal, repercussions. A lady in a position of significant responsibility was free to tell a group of six year old children children that Jews (having killed Christ) deserved what Hitler gave them. The kids who rode my school bus were free to squirt packets of ketchup and mustard on two trembling little black girls who tried to ride it to school one day. The man down the street was free to beat up his stepson every night without repercussions because that was a private family matter in which the state was loth to intervene. When I was ten, one of my teachers was free to become furious with me and send a note home to my parents when I said that I didn't see anything very wrong about Captain Kirk (I think) kissing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek.
Yep, it was a halcyon time, free of "government aggression" and the excessive and unfair expectation that people within a community owe something to the other people who have to put up with them. Nobody expected society to take care of the poor, sick, homeless, or indigent. Furthermore, those people knew their place. They didn't expect to share in the consumerist values of the wealthiest country in the world. They took whatever charity they got and liked it, or they went without.
I saw for myself (because I was there) that it was the so-called "Liberals" who mitigated at least some of these injustices by restricting the freedom of some citizens to oppress others and by requiring wealthy Americans to share a small portion of their wealth with people less fortunate. It is their devotion to social justice which remains the last best hope for the families of those who for whatever reason (including---yes---sheer idleness or indolence) can't rise to the level of industry and productiveness required to survive in our particular type of society. The system they created is far from perfect; it is clumsy; corrupt, and often unjust; and everything else that any system operated by human beings inevitably becomes. But is it worse than the alternative? I assure you, it is not.
I've seen what the world looked like before the much-reviled "Welfare State" and if these little John Galts think there was any but the most theoretical sort of freedom for certain classes of society, I've got a free market economist to sell them.
In the meantime, since it's Thanksgiving, I'd just like to say: "Thank you, Jesus, for NOT letting me grow up to be a libertarian nor yet a Libertarian."
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