Ron Paul and the hipster delusion
Here’s a clip which shows why I think the Ron Paul-hipster love affair is so misjudged.
In the excerpt, Congressman Paul is presented with evidence of government providing a service, in this case public transportation, which provides a public good and societal amenity regardless of the profit it makes. The D.C. Metro averages over a million riders a day, a million riders coursing through the city, or, to put it another way, a million trips which might otherwise have been made by car. Surely even Ron Paul would admit that the entire surface of D.C. being covered in cars might be a problem for intracity mobility. But ideology is rarely practical; reality keeps getting in the way. Whether the Washington Metrorail turns a profit or not, the benefits it offers to its host city are enormous; perhaps a campaign to get Mr. Paul to take a ride on it should begin here.
It’s become apparent that for your average, bicycle-riding, big-glass wearing city hipster or discharged, war-saddened soldier, Ron Paul is a cult figure. And he does have a certain caché, a bit like smoking dope in your Grandad’s bedroom and watching him, high on passive fumes, embarking on ever wilder flights of fancy which you, baked, lap up. But does anybody, even his supporters, really believe, in a country where public goods have been systematically undermined for the last 30 years and the outside observer struggles to find a non-privatized park bench, that what is needed is more profit motive and more selfishness in the U.S.A.? And surely to argue for less financial regulation three years after a crash which, motivated by bandit capitalism and financial whizzkiddery, i.e. fraud, wiped out billions in savings and lost people their homes, suggests that Mr. Paul does indeed come from another planet or as he calls it ‘Texas.’ He is also, and this should identify to anyone doubting exactly where Ron Paul fits on the political spectrum, a global-warming denier. To me, global warming denying, along with a lack of concern for climate change in a wider sense, is a moral wrong, equivalent to, when your child tells you what they want to be when they’re older, mockingly sneering and saying, ‘Sorry – you don’t get to grow up.’
Ron Paul is right about two things and two things only: the U.S.’ ‘War on Drugs’ is idiotic, and the States has to stop embarking on expensive and pointless wars. When he sticks to those points, as below, he can be very good indeed. For the rest of the time he can and should be ignored while the search goes on for someone who opposes the war on drugs, wants to slim down America’s military and who will honour the social contract that, if we wish to have a civilisation, we automatically enter into by being born into a given society at a given time. It’s out there and in droves. Try Rocky Anderson for starters.