(The final point about Ron Paul...for now.)
· He inspires because he knows how to agitate.There comes a time when a person taking on the negative effects of monstrous institutionalism must "make waves" enough to rock the boat so everyone on its deck can feel the effect. There is simply no way around it. Paul, himself, is aware of this role. "The purpose of the agitator is to change people's opinion so that great and significant social change can be achieved" (page 263, LD). In the spirit of John Wycliffe1, Anne Hutchinson2, Jeremiah Moore3, and Martin Luther King, Jr.4, we find Ron Paul carrying a banner for individual liberties – our freedoms, our unalienable rights.
History recognizes truth about great agitators that many of their contemporaries missed at the time. In fact, the common and necessary prerequisite for bringing about revolution is being dismissed (or suffering a worse fate) by the established hierarchy of the day. I believe this will be so for Ron Paul, as well. Despite the ridicule and name-calling from the professional political insiders, the future will unveil a movement riding the momentum championed by this one Congressman. (This reality is already coming to light in the polling of 18-29 year-old voters.)
I am reminded of an observation made by William James, "A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows." To me, it is a fascinating exercise to wonder if Ron Paul's Liberterian principles could progress in this way. Take the most villified positions that Paul has, and consider what a world would look like if they were to come to fruition.
Can you imagine an America with legalized marijuana?
Can you picture closed military bases scattered throughout the world with most of our soldiers at home?
Can you think of the Federal Reserve only existing in American history textbooks?
What about a world in which individuals are expected to actually take responsibility for their own actions as they live in freedom?
It is hard imagining these things in place when, right now, it is difficult to even see a day when the federal government actually means cut in the phrase "spending cut."
In the end, I find Ron Paul intriguing. He has caused me to think more than any other candidate. That may not be as much of an indictment against other candidates as it is a glimpse into where I am in my life now. I am at a point where I see that unanswered questions are often much less dangerous than unquestioned answers. Paul's book drove home this point with brief factual, verifiable accounts of how some of our governmental policies and programs came into being. When one is able to look at the historical record of how something was done, it becomes much easier to see how the world would go on just fine if it was undone.
Before reading Liberty Defined, I took certain parts of our U. S. "system" for granted and assumed "that's the way it has to be." Now, I realize that is just not so. The most incredible revelation for me is that it really isn't all that complicated. It does require educated, informed citizens, a relentless, consistent effort, and the will of the people to improve our current state. And one more thing, a truck load of common sense.
I still have much to learn. There are beliefs and positions of all the candidates left to explore. Politics is an ugly mess, and while I've painted a positive picture of Ron Paul in these posts, I admit that he is a politician. I wouldn't characterize him as an "insider," but his campaign participates in its share of negative ads and mudslinging. In my humble opinion, the more he stays above that kind of behavior, the better.
I wouldn't quite say that I have drunk the Ron Paul kool-aid yet, but I have definitely poured a cup and even snuck a sip or two. Honestly, it tastes better than I expected; surprisingly so. The simple and undeniable truth is that he is bringing up issues that need to be discussed. He is shining the light on things that remain hidden by those in power for too long. His absence from this primary process would create a vacuum that would not be beneficial for all of us.
Even if you, like my friend, label Ron Paul as wrong, for the place we find ourselves economically, socially, internationally, and historically, even a wrong Ron Paul is right for America!
1 Wycliffe was called “wretched” and “son of the old serpent” by Catholic church leadership for his efforts in translating the Bible into the common language of his people.
2 Early 17th century Puritan who was put on trial and punished without ever getting a sufficient answer to her question, “What have I done wrong?”
3 Moore was arrested and told to “lie in jail until you rot” for converting to become a Baptist only a few years before the American war for indiependence.
4 Criticized by fellow clergy for actions that were labeled "unwise and untimely" while leading the change for social justice.