If you’ve missed the item about the
politically incorrect newsletters published under Ron Paul’s name during
the 1980s and 1990s, and unearthed strategically by The New Republic, it
is because Beltway libertarians are just about the only ones still
“spilling pixels” over the affair. Spilling pixels and beating breasts.
Especially inconsolable over the unsavory newsletters, none of which
bore Ron Paul’s byline, are the Reason Magazine and Cato Institute
claque—excrescences on the D.C. establishment both.
Ron Paul’s supporters are certainly not reaching for the smelling salts.
They remain focused on the Paul platform. They understand that in Paul
his opponents have found a man who’s led an exemplary life—has served
his country and community, stayed married to his childhood sweetheart
for 50 odd years, and is as devout a Christian as he is a
constitutionalist. It’s not easy to impugn this impish, good-natured
man, so mudslinger becomes a must.
Because the Beltway characters believe they are at the center of the
universe, they imagine that: 1) The Paul Revolution revolves around them
and their “ideas,” and 2) In the unlikely event the Revolution was started
without them, it has to be insignificant.
As usual, they are wrong.
Ron Paul is not running as a Libertarian, but as a Republican with a
strong libertarian sensibility. Ron’s Revolution is revved, for the
most, by independents, defecting Democrats, and disgruntled Republicans
for whom his message is fresh and intuitive.
What are the odds that Rep. Paul’s followers have come to the philosophy
of freedom through Reason magazine? Is it remotely possible that the
passionate soldiers of the Paul Army enlisted after chancing upon a
dispassionate, desiccated, dry-as-dust disquisition on a free market in
kidneys (I’m all for it)? I think not.
Perhaps Paulites were inspired by Stephen Moore, a former Catoite, now
with the neoconservative “War Street Journal.” From his comfy perch on
“Kudlow & Company,” Moore ventured just the other
day that the recession is the result of the less-than dynamic demos’
fear of rapid technological transformation. This is the Virginia Postrel
“philosophy,” if it can be called that.
Also antipathetic to Dr. Paul, Ms. Postrel is yet another
establishment-endorsed libertarian of whom Paul backers are blissfully
unaware. A filament of the Postrel faith evinced by her first book, “The
Future and its Enemies,” is that all change is good, always.
All that glitters is gold was the essence of Ms. Postrel’s second
manifesto, “The Substance of Style.” Profound perhaps to some, but not
Picture a Venn diagram. The overlap between the Paul and the Postrel
solitudes is invisible to the naked eye. Only in the atrophying attics
of mainstream intelligentsia and media does Postrel’s stuff resonate.
Ron’s Revolutionaries have coalesced around the illegal, immoral, and
unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, against America’s hegemonic
overreach, and for a sovereign, less “cosmopolitan,” America.
Beltway libertarians, conversely, are moved in mysterious ways by gaping
borders, gay marriage, multiculturalism, cloning, and all else “cool and
Judging by Reason’s “35
Heroes of Freedom,” “cool and cosmopolitan” encompasses
William Burroughs, a drug addled, Beat-Generation wife killer, whose
“work is mostly gibberish and his literary influence baleful.”
Madonna Reason has exalted for, as they put it, leading “MTV’s glorious
parade of freaks, gender-benders, and weirdos who helped broaden the
palette of acceptable cultural identities and destroy whatever vestiges
of repressive mainstream sensibilities still remained.” Sounds like the
unscrambled, strange dialect spoken by a professor of Women’s and Gender
Dennis Rodman Reason adulates for ‘set[ting] an X-Men-level standard for
cultural mutation,” and for his “flamboyant, frequently gay-ish antics.”
Having lived on a couple of continents and encountered my fair share of
sophisticates, let me say that this stuff is all terribly provincial and
Contra Paulites, Beltway libertarians have generally supported the Iraq
war, although they’ve cooled to it since the war lost some of its Cool
Quotient. In fact, I suspect the Reason crowd supported Paul before
opposing him because the Paul Revolution is so groovy. Reason is all
about the groove; gravitas, not so much.
If we’ve learned anything so far from the cloying coverage of the 2008
elections it is that mainstream media can’t even call a caucus. Ditto
mainstream libertarians—they’re utterly divorced from the groundswell
Paul has ignited.
This (classical liberal) column is unaffiliated and independent; this
columnist temperamentally unsuited to obedience. Thus, while I’ve
endorsed Ron Paul, aspects of his
have not escaped my scrutiny.
More to the point,
endorsed Ron Paul because, unlike most of Paul’s pampered
detractors, I happen to know what living without freedom is like: I left
South Africa with the proceeds from the sale of my apartment stashed in
the soles of my shoes. Had I been apprehended smuggling my
property out of that country, I’d have been jailed together with
my husband; we both stood taller on that trip. Moreover, I’ve seen
firsthand the same oppression sneak-up on unsuspecting Americans. For
instance, the South-African model of detention-without-trial is slowly
becoming a fixture of the American legal landscape.
So, when the prospects of liberty loom, carpe diem.
Loving liberty viscerally means that when one encounters a man whose
understanding of freedom and individual rights approximates—if not
parallels—your own, you seize the day. Those who stand on the sidelines
are slaves to abstractions—and worse: They are mollycoddled milksops.
Paul’s vision is as close to The Good Life as we could hope to come in
the current ideological climate. Only tinny ideologues encased in
worthless ideological armor—worthless because it exists in the arid
arena of their minds, not on earth—would turn their noses up at the
prospect of Paul.
©2008 By Ilana Mercer