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Reason's Matt Welch Turns On Professor Science | Main | One Reason To Support Thompson
January 11, 2008

The Case For Ron Paul: Can You Make It?

I feel bad, sometimes, for picking on Professor Science, because there are some people I like and I think are sort of pretty on the level are so passionate about him. But I'm sorry: I don't get it.

I don't get the claim that he's "the only man" who can save America, "the only man" who can restore the Constitution, "the only man" who can bring limited government back in vogue.

All of this is extraordinarily fanciful. I don't mean this as a cheap line -- it's rather serious. If the man couldn't keep a handle on his own small newsletter operation, can someone explain to me how he can possibly be "the only man in America" capable of forcing the federal government into a direction that the great mass of the American public simply does not want?

Let's take the Department of Education for starters. I assume, without knowing for a fact, Professor Science wishes to abolish it. I'm copacetic with that general notion. I do not consider that to be a "deranged" or "lunatic" idea.

What I do consider deranged is the assertion by Professor Science's supporters that such a thing is possible. Wake up: It's not. The Department of Education may be an ineffective, even counterproductive, scam that hurts more than it helps and is indeed an example of the federal government's growth into areas it shouldn't venture into.

But the Department of Education is popular. Very popular. Among dopes, yes, who think that if you're against the Department of Education you're against education itself and don't want children to have an education, but those dopes, I have to say, constitute about 75% of the electorate.

This is why those "sell-out RINOs" are forced to accomodate themselves with the reality that the DoE isn't going anywhere. The best a real, serious, non-fringe candidate can hope to do is to reform this institution so it at least is not harmful to education.

Would abolishing it be preferable? Possibly. Probably, even. I would not be sad at all to see this crap department go. But it is not politically possible. You can either have a Republican who says he supports the DoE and wants it to do its job better or you can have Democrat who says he suppors the DoE and wants it do its job better. What you can't have is a Republican President who vows to abolish it, because he won't be elected. Period.

I am sick of being told that if I do not share the magical thinking of Professor Science's supporters -- "Vote for our guy and suddenly well-documented attitudes and policy preferences of the American people will change overnight, and we can do whatever we want! We just have to want it enough and be pure!"

Please. Do not indulge yourself in a political fantasy and then knock me as a "sell-out" or "neocon collectivist" because I decline to follow you into the political equivalent of Middle Earth or Narnia. I live in the real world, guys, where some things just can't be done, at least not without twenty or thirty years of furious advocacy and serious movement in public sentiment.

Reality itself is not a "neocon collectivist" construct. And I think, sometimes, that Professor Science's more fervent admirers think it is.



"If you dream it, you can do it" is a silly bit of twaddle told to eighth graders at "Be Somebody!" self-esteem rallies. Adults who consider themselves astute and savvy really ought not be indulging in such childish sloganeering.

"The Only Man Who Can Save America" cannot move us to a gold standard.

"The Only Man Who Can Save America" cannot undo fifty years of bad liberal jurisprudence expanding the "Constitution," as liberal judges imagine it, into strange new realms.

"The Only Man Who Can Save America" cannot single-handedly reverse the age-old habit of Americans of claiming they want low taxes and limited government while actually voting for new federal programs and giveaways.

And I'm sick of being told that he can.

There is one thing, of course, that Professor Science can do. As Commander in Chief, he could, immediately, surrender in the War on Terror and withdraw all our troops from overseas. (Pretty sure about that last one; I suppose there may be treaties that may have something to say about this, but as a general matter he could order most troops to be redeployed back home, and then, presumably, demobilized into civilian life as we shed this "military-industrial complex promoted neocon Army of Empire."

So the one thing I'm quite sure that President Professor Science can actually accomplish is the last thing on earth I actually want him to do.

I should note he'd almost certainly also dedicate a very large fraction of the Department of Justice's resources into a sprawling investigation into the Trilateral Commission, CFR, AIPAC, the Bildersbergers, etc. I don't mind that bit of silliness so much except for the fact they'd be chasing down Ron Paul's private bugaboos instead of tracking terrorists and putting together cases against real criminals.

And I'm a sell-out RINO and neocon collectivist for not supporting him?

Hey, Ron Paul supporters: Make your fucking case. Explain to me precisely how Ron Paul will achieve all these wonderful things against the overwhelming weight of longstanding public opinion and political will. And explain to me why it would even be good if he could accomplish his more oddball notions, like going over to a gold standard again. A standard rejected and abandoned again and again throughout human history.

You can even call him Ron Paul, as I've begun doing, for this thread and this thread alone.

No cant. I don't want to hear gassy bullshit about vague ideas like "restoring freedom." I want to hear tangible parts of his agenda and how, exactly, you think the can possibly accomplish them.

I'm tired of the vague crap -- do you guys really now, exactly, what he would do as President, or is he so vague you can all read into his claims about "restoring freedom" whatever real-world, tangible policies you personally favor?

So be specific and be realistic. And for those who hate Ron Paul -- be polite, please. No baiting. Disagree fairly and substantively but without a lot of snark and sarcasm.

Let's have a serious, sensible discussion over this without a bunch of cheap cracks. (There are plenty of threads for that.) Let's here, finally, the real and concrete case for Ron Paul.

I know you guys get very frustrated when the unenlightened among us cannot see the virtues of Ron Paul's Revolution. For what it's worth, the feeling is quite mutual: You guys seem like space aliens to me. I cannot for the life of me understand the reasons for your passion, other than attributing it to psychological quirks -- a deep distrust of and discontent with government generally, psyching yourselves up constantly among each other about making the dream really happen, feeling picked upon and dismissed by the majority, something that often leads to insular and unrealistic thinking.

So explain it to me so that I don't just think you're all suffering from some kind of inchoate rage at "the way things are" generally. Let me know, specifically, how you see Ron Paul changing the country, and how he will manage to end programs with huge amounts of public support (like the war on drugs), and why, why other people should support such ambitious and possibly perilous goals.

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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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