Apr 27, 2010

What Ralph Nader *May* Teach Us About Ron Paul

I'm not going into any specifics here, because the canyon between Paul and Nader couldn't be wider. However, what I want to caution you people out there against is judging the man too closely by his followers. I don't want to start a ruckus with Libertarians, but some of them are quite devoted to Paul. I have allowed the irony of their position - How can you follow Obama so blindly! Ron Paul's always right! - to keep me from thinking more deeply about whether or not his positions really, truly, honestly deserve the headspace I've been unwilling to give them.

How this relates to Ralph Nader is in the near-religious fervor with which both men's followers regard them. We live in an age of the cult of personality, and both me are subject to it, even in their respective lack of personality. What happened ten years ago is that the majority of Americans eschewed the message of Ralph Nader because his denizens were a bit wacky, and he was a turd in the punch bowl, but the anti-corporatism message he espoused is becoming eerily prescient in these financially bankrupt days of our republic.

Similarly, Paul's supporters are so fervent that they tend to turn the average person off, myself included, because you can kind of see that David Koresh look in their eyes when they talk about RP. That should not detract, however, from what the man is trying to say. We should keep the man separate from the message, indeed, as far as the supporters go. When I posed a question on the internet recently, asking Libertarians what their biggest grief with the man was, the most compelling answer I received was, "I wish he were twenty or thirty years younger. Oh, and he could be more forceful in his message." Honestly.

No doubt, Ron Paul has a track record to back up what he's saying, but that's not really the argument being made here. I demur from going into any real discussion of his positions - that is a post for another time - but the crux of this argument (and I hope RP fans can see through the veiled criticism to what is ostensibly a compliment) is that Ron Paul shouldn't be discounted simply because he's willing to throw a wrench in the modern political machine. I'll leave you with a quote from Ralph Nader in order to drive this point home: “When people say, ‘Why’d you do this in 2000?’ and so on,” Nader explains in AN UNREASONABLE MAN, “I’d say, ‘I’m a 20-year veteran of pursuing the folly of the least worst between the two parties.’ Because when you do that, you end up allowing them to both get worse every four years.”

Source: PBS.Org

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