The Shoe Leather Express

Writing and Comedy from James Harris

Category: Politics

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.


Iowa as they finished


Des Moines, Iowa. Those Iowa Republican caucus candidates again, in order of finishing:

  1. Mitt Romney. Looks like a man doing an impression of Ronald Reagan at a party, an impression greeted by elaborate, patronizing applause on the behalf of the assembled liberal guests. ‘Oh Mitt – you’re just so like him!’
  2. Rick Santorum. A man who once said: ‘I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.’ As such is presumably a big fan of simmering Edwardian costume drama. Hence fondness for the sweater vest, which is exactly what people in such serials wear when they come back from ‘Ahmerica’, terribly changed.
  3. Ron Paul. Like your crazy uncle, occasionally says something so utterly surprising and right-on you start listening to him again, at which point you remember why you didn’t initially.
  4. Newt Gringrich. Looks like the boss at the end of the fourth level of a computer game, beaten by repeatedly punching them in the same part of their skull until his lumbering collapse.
  5. Rick Perry. The thinking man’s cactus.
  6. Michelle Bachmann. Too crazy for the Republicans.
  7. John Huntsman. He is the 1%!

And in the blue corner, their Democratic opponent:


Barack Obama, a man whose main achievement until now is shooting an unarmed man in the face at point-blank range, presumably inspired in this action by his Nobel Peace Prize.

Incidentally, pizza baron and motivational speaker Herman Cain still received 58 votes yesterday, despite not actually running anymore. You can also still donate to his campaign – nice one, Herman!

ImageHerman Cain – an offer 58 people still can’t refuse.

Predictions for 2012

… the Euro to survive,

… UK coalition to break,

… unrest in the Stans (friend’s tip-off),

… Obama to get a second term.

And yours?