Ron Paul Cures What Ails Ya

Politics, Internet by Adam on 2008-01-02 01:54

I’ve always suspected that there’s an untapped vein of libertarians in this country - far beyond the 3 million or so votes that the Libertarain presidential candidate typically pulls in each election. These potential libertarians are people that believe in individual liberty and a fiscally responsible government, and understand that one-size-fits-all government mandates will never accommodate the needs of a diverse population. But most of these people don’t know the word “libertarian,” or if they do, they may be scared off from some of the Libertarian party’s more controversial positions.

The result is that these folks don’t feel any particular affiliation to any political party, and usually don’t even bother to vote. Politics is just something they’d rather avoid, because none of the choices really fit with their own beliefs. And they think that they are alone, because they don’t know many other people who feel the way that they do.

The meteoric rise of the Ron Paul revolution has been a deeply satisfying and uplifting experience for me. Just as I had always thought, there are far more than just those 3 million big-L libertarians out there. Ron Paul has given a voice to many of them. Ron Paul supporters are very often people who have never before felt connected to the political process or any particular candidate.

But why is this happening now, rather than a decade ago with Harry Browne, or any other time? Nothing Paul is saying is anything new - he’s been preaching the same principles for three decades, and those principles are themselves far older than that.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the answer is the internet and social media. Not long ago, I considered YouTube a fun but altogether unimportant, yet another way to goof around on the internet. Now I see that it (along with other social media sites and the blogosphere in general) is changing the face of this nation’s culture and politics at an incredible speed - not unlike the appearance of other media like TV and radio in the last century.

Perhaps more interesting than the candidate or the libertarian ideas he espouses, however, is the decentralized nature of the campaign itself. Most of the signs posted, huge rallies happening, and video spots being created and distributed - these are done by self-organized groups of individuals who have no contact whatsoever with Ron Paul’s official headquarters. Even that Ron Paul R[evol]ution logo you see everywhere is not an official part of the campaign, just something a supporter created and was then adopted by others around the country.

A totally decentralized, by-the-people-for-the-people campaign - what could make more sense for a candidate who believes in limiting top-down government authority?

The first Republican primary is tomorrow (later today, technically, since I’m posting just after midnight), in Iowa. Paul isn’t likely to do well there, but five days later is New Hampshire - and we’re all expecting a victory for Paul in the “Live Free Or Die” state.

The Ron Paul campaign is making me feel inspired about political activism for the first time in quite a while. It doesn’t matter if he wins. What’s more important is the feelings that have been awaked in the hearts and minds of liberty-minded individuals across the nation. One popular T-shirt slogan among Paul supporters is “Ron Paul Cured My Apathy.” Right on. Maybe I’ll get a shirt that says “Ron Paul Cured My Jadedness.”

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