Yes, Virginia, there is a December headline cliché

Back when I still worked in a fully staffed newsroom — back when there still was such a thing as a fully staffed newsroom — we had a rule for the holidays. Once per year we would allow one headline beginning “‘Tis the Season …” and one beginning, “Yes, Virginia …”

But only one per year. And that was probably still one too many.

The “Yes, Virginia …” headline still seems irresistible, with about 500 recent examples in Google News, including:

  • “Yes, Virginia, consumers will buy big-ticket items via mobile”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is no Newt (on the ballot)”
  • “Yes, Virginia, the Internet does not replace old-fashioned politics”
  • “Yes, Virginia, Consumers Won a Couple in Washington”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is a Supreme Court”
  • Yes, Virginia, There Is a Pooping Log
  • “Yes, Virginia, There are Rainbow Trout in Texas”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there are things to do this weekend”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is a Christ in Christmas”
  • Yes, Virginia, Ron Paul Is a Kook

That last one is from Kevin Drum, responding to a 1991 Ron Paul fundraising letter in which the Texas Republican warned that then-new paper currency designed to make counterfeiting more difficult was some kind of Stalinist plot.

It’s hard to know how to respond to the hyperventilating paranoia and conspiratorial weirdness of Paul’s newsletters when you stack that set of delusional extremist ideas against Paul’s other delusional, extremist ideas — the ones trumpeted in the explicitly racist, homophobic and misogynist articles of the congressman’s horrifying newsletters.

Those newsletters are now being tweeted, line-by-despicable-line.

Any single one of those lines ought to be, by itself, the kind of appalling gaffe that would end a political career — disqualifying Ron Paul not just from his party’s presidential nomination, but from re-election, even in Texas. Cumulatively, the effect is devastating.

It’s more than enough to raise the question asked by Ashley F. Miller: “Why does anyone like Ron Paul?

The erratically libertarian icon’s supporters rushed to answer that question in the comments to Miller’s post, noting that, for example, she’s a woman and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to vote or to express opinions. OK, then, question answered.

 

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  • Anonymous

    Does this mean that Mitt Romney is left as the only conceivable Republican presidential candidate?  If so, what happens if he becomes unelectable — some unforgivable skeleton is discovered in his closet, or he slips into a banana-peel-induced coma, or something?  Does the GOP just start from scratch, pick some relatively unbloodied nobody, and agree to pretend that’s whom they wanted all along?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    what happens if he becomes unelectable

    Becomes? Have you missed the last six months of the GOP trying to nominate anyone but Mr. Romney?

    He’s a smarmy, out-of-touch, inveterate flip-flopper who can’t even rally the Republican base, much less appeal to moderates and independents.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    He’s a smarmy, out-of-touch, one percenter multi-millionaire who made his millions by laying off thousands of people and inveterate flip-flopper 

    fixxt

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Yes.

    But remember, there’s still just over nine months left of this stuff. There could very well be a “Santorum surge” (as I’ve heard it put). He’s pretty much the only GOP candidate apart from Huntsman or Hong Bopei or whatever his name is to have not been a frontrunner.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    There could very well be a “Santorum surge” (as I’ve heard it put).

    Is it crass of me that I am laughing at the toilet humor of this expression?  

  • Lori

    There could very well be a “Santorum surge” (as I’ve heard it put). 

    Considering the internet meaning of “santorum” I think people might want to put it a different way. Either that or buy stock in the company that makes Imodium.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    A “Santorum Surge”?  What a horrible image. 

    You’d think modern sewage systems would prevent such a thing. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    No, a modern sewage system only acts as a receptacle for a Santorum Surge, assuming that the surger can make it to the toilet in time.  Santorum is only produced by well-lubed anal sex, which (baring some very unusual circumstances) does not happen in a sewer, nor has a sewer the capacity to prevent.  

    However, a Santorum Surge can be produced by the use of an enema to cleanse the colon immediately post anal-sex.  This is something that should only ever be attempted while proximate to a toilet or chamber pot.  Otherwise one would end up with an unsanitary mess.  

    Why someone would want to produce a Santorum Surge is beyond the scope of my speculation.  I do not claim to understand the fetishistic desires of Republican primary voters.  

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    “Santorum surge”

    *snicker*

  • Lori

    If so, what happens if he becomes unelectable — some
    unforgivable skeleton is discovered in his closet, or he slips into a
    banana-peel-induced coma, or something?  Does the GOP just start from
    scratch, pick some relatively unbloodied nobody, and agree to pretend
    that’s whom they wanted all along?

    The voting is about to start, so the race pretty much is what it is at this point. One of the people who is currently in the hunt is going to get the GOP nomination. That person’s ability to win the general is actually totally irrelevent. If things go totally off the rails the only thing the GOP can do is put all it’s weight behind getting right winger’s to all vote for the same Independent. Good luck with that.

  • Panda Rosa

    I’m more intrigued by the Pooping Log, just went and looked it up.
    Anyone who wants to link it to Ron Paul, that I’d like to see.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    I knew a woman with bad intestines who kept a pooping log, but I think that was a different thing entirely.

  • vsm

    You know, for the longest time I thought supporting Ron Paul was some kind of an Internet joke like rickrolling.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    His acolytes never gonna give, never gonna give him up…

  • Anonymous

    I supported him for three weeks, when all I knew about him was that he wanted to end the Iraq war. The more I heard about him, the more disgusted I became with him.

    I didn’t think it was still possible to become more disgusted with the man, but this blog proves me wrong on a regular basis.

  • Anonymous

    That newsletter twitter has some spooky excerpts.  Here’s another revealing one:

    A liberal clergyman sneered: “Isn’t it immoral to benefit from catastrophe?” I told him, “No, not if you didn’t cause it.”

    — with regards to his $50 “SURVIVING THE NEW MONEY” report, also conveniently packaged with the $99 per year subscription to the monthly “RON PAUL INVESTMENT LETTER”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Just a word of warning – if you want to avoid getting pissed off, stay far away from the comments on that Ashley F. Miller post.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    For a group that claims to value individual freedom about everything else, the comments by Ron Paul’s rabid devotees are remarkably conformist: misogyny, condescension, Constitutionalist dogma, general dickish trollery.  

    It’s like being at a meeting of a club for bitter teenage boys where weren’t cool enough to get into the other clubs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    They’re extremely dogmatic, much more so than supporters of any other politician I’ve heard of in recent US politics. They rely heavily on copy-pasted rants; on slate.com, an Internet newspaper blog that I read, some of Ron Paul’s fans copy and paste the same rants on every single article that has to do with Paul in any way.

    Not all of them do this. Some of them actually do engage in discussions and read things that other people say about their candidates. But there’s a significant level of identical screeds that create the unsettling impression of some kind of robot invasion.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I have nothing to say on the Ron Paul stuff because I’m too busy giggling at the pooping log. What a great tradition…

  • Anonymous

    Democrats, thanks for targeting your attacks on those Republican candidates who have no chance of getting the nomination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581585394 Nicholas Kapur

    I think it’s telling that I honestly can’t tell who you’re accusing Democrats of wasting their time on.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    What attacks?

    I’ve seen some things from Democrats targeted at Mitt Romney but as for the rest, Newt Gingrich collapsed under the weight of attacks from Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, not Democrats.  Herman Cain was brought down by the fact that he’d had an affair which is, somehow, considered much, much worse than sexually harassing multiple people.  Rick Perry was brought down by Rick Perry.  Bachman had a lot of problems, and was never all that popular to begin with,  but I think the fact that Fox News started ignoring her probably hurt her more than any Democrats ever could.

    The Republican candidates who have diminished have done so at the hands of Republicans, either their own or those of their opponents.

    Which is hardly surprising since that’s the way that primaries usually work.

  • Tonio

    That’s two faulty assumptions.

    The first is that everyone else here is a Democrat.

    The other is that any of the declared candidates can actually win the nomination. Romney won’t get the support of the Tea Partyers and the religious right, partly because of his religious affiliation and because of his record in Massachusetts. McCain had that problem in 2008, which is why we’re cursed with Sarah Palin’s demagoguery. I don’t think picking an extremist as a running mate will be enough to keep the party united this time. This might be the year that the extremists formally break with the party and back their own candidate, perhaps Gingrich.

  • Anonymous

    Gingrich seems to have vaguely rational views on immigration – that surely wouldn’t make him popular with the extremists, would it?

    I suppose it might depend which exact group of extremists you’re talking about…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think the biggest piece of obnoxious stupidity in this election cycle is the decision of conservatives to pretend that it’s the Democrats who are responsible for the attacks on Trump, Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and Paul.

    Because, you know, Obama is probably terrified that liberals are suddenly going to decide that Rick Perry is more progressive or liberal than he is.

    The people going after GOP primary candidates are other Republicans. The person who went after Perry for the HPV thing was Michele Bachmann. The person who kept trying to torpedo Trump’s attempts to become a GOP kingmaker was Karl Rove. The people who brought out the sexual harassment and adultery allegations against Herman Cain were FOX news affiliates The person running the anti-Gingrich campaign ads in Iowa is Ron Paul.

    Do you know why? It’s because they want to win the nomination. That’s their goal here — they are focusing on GOP candidates because they’re competition. Democrats aren’t, because to Obama, Ron Paul et al aren’t his competition (yet).

  • Lori

    Democrats, thanks for targeting your attacks on those Republican candidates who have no chance of getting the nomination.

    And I guess that we can thank you for proving once again that when it comes to politics you’re a total idiot.

  • Jlipton

    Why limit it to politics? Other than an extensive knowledge of Left Behind, I haven’t seen many signs of intelligence on any subject.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    How can you be so un-conservative in the Left Behind threads and yet demonstrate concern trolling, cowardice, and ignorance all the way down the row when the subject turns towards contemporary politics?

    Why does your brain not make the connection “oh, hey, the LB writers are basically dialed in to a T the religious and moral instincts of the entire Right wing of the United States”?

    What does a better person need to say to get you to stop being wrong?

  • Lori

    What does a better person need to say to get you to stop being wrong?

    I don’t know about a better person, but any person would, for starters, have to actually say something to aunursa and I don’t think that’s possible here. He has a consistent pattern. He makes one incredibly ignorant political comment and then disappears from the thread. I don’t see any indication that he reads the responses to his post. He drops his talking point and then runs away.

    It’s like he’s playing the internet version of Ding Dong Ditch It*. Unless the world has changed a great deal since I was a kid most people give that shit up IRL by the time they start high school. Sadly, online there doesn’t seem to be any age limit to that game.

    *A prank involving ringing someone’s doorbell and then running away so that when they open the door, no one is there. It’s hilarious. If you’re 12.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t yet seen a Republican candidate who does have a chance at the nomination.  Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, and Trump are all (thankfully) out of the running, and nobody else has nearly as large a support base.

  • vsm

    Besides, Ron Paul Thought is rapidly gaining momentum among young white men. Even if he won’t be elected, surely it makes sense to attack him before he becomes any more popular.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    What’s really weird to me is that all the Angry Young Well-To-Do White Men who I know who were Ron Paul supporters back in ’08 had pretty much unanimously decided that Paul is utterly unelectable and therefore not worth their spit any more by the time he announced he was running.

    Angry Young Well-To-Do White Men can be rather mercenary that way

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    They seem to be back with a vengeance, with a lightning barrage of excuses for their candidate. So far, I’ve heard, “He didn’t write those newsletters”, and “No other politician have ever had their past associations scrutinized or their record scrutinized by the press”, and “Everyone’s a little bit racist anyway, it’s a psychological survival defense mechanism” or, somewhat less offensively, “It was twenty years ago. People weren’t as enlightened as there were now; everybody was racist” (back in the 1990s, which apparently was the height of the Jim Crow era now?), or “Lew Rockwell wrote those letters and not Ron Paul, but Paul won’t out him because he has too many principles to throw Rockwell under the bus” (I guess that’s the political equivalent of ‘snitches get stitches’!). I think my favorite one is, “You shouldn’t care about that stuff because Ron Paul has great ideas”.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot my favorite response: 

    6. “How can you possibly call Ron Paul a racist?!! Ron Paul is the only candidate in favor of ending the drug war and opposed to bombing foreigners – both activities that disproportionately hurt black and brown people! And he helped black people in need of medical treatment, when he was still practicing medicine! And here’s a link to a picture of him with a south asian lady!

    Treating black people with respect on a personal level and favoring policies likely to benefit them totally proves he didn’t cynically promote racism in the past in order to gain the support of racists!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    The excuses I’ve seen most commonly given, many of which tie into the ones you listed, are:

    1.  Even if he is a racist, it doesn’t matter because his unwavering commitment to Libertarian principles would prevent him from attempting to enact policies based on his personal beliefs about things like race, abortion, or gay marriage.  They also claim that his voting record bears this out, and will casually handwave away any claims to the contrary.

    2.  The President doesn’t really have any power anyway, so it doesn’t matter (which leads me to wonder why they want him to become a powerless figurehead).

    3.  He can’t possibly be racist anyway, because there are no videos of him on YouTube making racist remarks, or at least, no remarks that they would classify as racist.  It’s unclear as to what, exactly, the standard by which he could conceivably be deemed racist is, but I suspect that a fair number of them would respond to a video of him burning a cross at a Klan meeting by saying that doesn’t constitute adequate proof of racism.

    4.  Ending the war and legalizing drugs are more important than anything else.

    5. He’s, like, ideologically consistent, man.  Evidently it doesn’t matter what your ideology is so long as you’re consistent about it.  From that perspective, I should think that Jack Chick would make an equally excellent candidate for them to throw their support behind were he to throw his hat into the ring…

    As more and more excerpts from the newsletters make their way into the public consciousness, I’m seeing a lot of his supporters leaning heavily on 1 and 5.  I have a friend on Facebook who’s been a huge Paul booster for years.  She posts something about him almost daily (she even had a shot of him as her profile picture for a while).  Lately, however, I’ve been noticing that while she mentions that she’s a Paul supporter, she’s focusing less and less on the man himself and more and more on the tenets of Libertarianism.

  • Lori

    It’s unclear as to what, exactly, the standard by which he could conceivably be deemed racist is, but I suspect that a fair number of them would respond to a video of him burning a cross at a Klan meeting by saying that doesn’t constitute adequate proof of racism. 

    Chris Rock has this one covered: “What do you have to do? Shoot Medgar Evers?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I thought about going with that, but I’m reasonably certain that wouldn’t do anything to dissuade the Paul supporters.  I don’t think anything could, honestly – he’s too inextricably linked with Libertarianism in their minds.  The man himself, and the things he does and says, just don’t seem to matter as long as his supporters retain their commitment to being Libertarians.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    Jack Chick would be the *perfect* Republican candidate.

    Full of bitterness, rage, violence, contempt-masquerading-as-love-and-concern. Virulently anti-Papist, anti-Semetic, Muslim-and-Arabphobic.

    And, best of all, as a cartoon tract he’s easy to read and probably a lot of fun for them, too.

  • Anonymous

    “Ron Paul Thought is rapidly gaining momentum among young white men.”

    And always has been.  Among, of course, a very ‘select’ group of young white men.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The thought occurs that libertarianism is basically what you get if you’re a privileged young white man who wants to protect your privilege, but you care less about authoritarianism-in-general and more about being able to smoke pot.

  • rizzo

    People like Ron Paul because he’s smart…unfortunately he’s also friggen nuts.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think he’s really that smart. I think he knows how to sound smart compared to the other children in the playpen, but that’s just good acting on his part.

  • Anonymous

    Why is there a December headline cliché?

    Because of this, apparently:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes,_Virginia,_there_is_a_Santa_Claus

    (to help out all those who were as confused as I am – I thought ‘Virginia’ was the state…
    I’m also thinking of posteriety here – when all that’s left of modern civilization is an old copy of wikipedia and this blog)

  • We Must Dissent

    Thank you. I’m from the US, but don’t remember ever hearing or seeing a “Yes, Virginia, . . . ” headline. This as a cliche was new to me.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Gingrich seems to have vaguely rational views on immigration – that surely wouldn’t make him popular with the extremists, would it? 

    It speaks poorly of our political system when being “vaguely rational” is the most positive quality you can see in a candidate.  

  • Anonymous

    I’m only going to go as far as ‘vaguely rational on this one issue’ – Gingrich overall seems a bit bats to me.  In particular, he seems to have a messiah complex or something like it.

    Although I might be prepared to upgrade to ‘quite rational on this one issue’ – from the couple of articles I read about it, I think it’s probably as rational a stance as you could openly state and still have a chance of winning the Republican primary — I was quite surprised, actually, and pleasantly so, which is unfortunately quite a rare event when reading political news…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It speaks poorly of our political system when being “vaguely rational” is the most positive quality you can see in a candidate.

    Worse when it’s the quality that makes him *least* electable.

    (Seriously. If a candidate came forward and said “If elected, I will murder one illegal immigrant, one gay soldier, and one uninsured sick person with my own bare hands,” I think it would clinch the race for them at this point. There is a sick part of me that wonders if the revelations about Paul’s history of racism and other monstrosity isn’t what caused his numbers *to* rally)

  • Lori

    Seriously. If a candidate came forward and said “If elected, I will
    murder one illegal immigrant, one gay soldier, and one uninsured sick
    person with my own bare hands,” I think it would clinch the race for
    them at this point. 

    Considering that hateful statements that have been applause lines in the GOP debates, I think this is a fair assumption. At the very least I wouldn’t bet heavily against the “I’ll kill them with my bare hands” candidate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Maybe not, but I bet the candidate who said that it is wrong to murder illegal immigrants would probably slip in the poll ratings a percentage point or two.

    It’s amazing how different our values can be.

    Remember how Rick Perry was vilified, not for that time he executed an innocent person, but because he tried to stop young girls from getting cancer and let the children of illegal immigrants go to school. Perhaps the only two decent and compassionate things he ever did as Governor of Texas, and that’s what he got beaten up for.

    Remember when Herman Cain’s poll numbers surged in the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations, but when it was revealed that he once had a consensual sexual relationship with a woman he was forced to leave the race?

    And someone else already mentioned Gingrich, who had the temerity to suggest that it would be impractical to deport ten million people and cruel to deport someone who had been in the country for twenty five years, had children and grandchildren who were citizens, and was contributing extensively to his or her local community.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Remember how Rick Perry was vilified, not for that time he executed an innocent person, but because he tried to stop young girls from getting cancer and let the children of illegal immigrants go to school. Perhaps the only two decent and compassionate things he ever did as Governor of Texas, and that’s what he got beaten up for.

    In the case of the vaccinations, Rick Perry was getting campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical manufacturer which was getting paid by the government for every person treated with their cervical cancer vaccine.  While the net result was certainly positive (and I do not begrudge people making a profit by helping society at large) I doubt that compassion had anything to do with Perry pushing for the vaccination to be mandatory.  

  • hagsrus

    ‘Susan,’ said Twyla, from somewhere under
    the blankets.

    ‘Yes?’

    ‘You know last week we wrote letters to
    the Hogfather?’

    ‘Yes?’

    ‘Only … in the park Rachel says he
    doesn’t exist and it’s your father really. And everyone else said she was
    right.’

    There was a rustle from the other bed.
    Twyla’s brother had turned over and was listening surreptitiously.

    Oh dear, thought Susan. She had hoped she
    could avoid this. It was going to be like that business with the Soul Cake Duck
    all over again.

    ‘Does it matter if you get the presents
    anyway?’ she said, making a direct appeal to greed.

    ‘ ‘ es.’

    Oh dear, oh dear. Susan sat down on the
    bed, wondering how the hell to get through this. She patted the one visible
    hand.

    ‘Look at it this way, then,’ she said, and
    took a deep mental breath. ‘Wherever people are obtuse and absurd … and
    wherever they have, by even the most generous standards, the attention span of
    a small chicken in a hurricane and the investigative ability of a one-legged
    cockroach … and wherever people are inanely credulous, pathetically attached
    to the certainties of the nursery and, in general, have as much grasp of the realities of the physical universe as
    an oyster has of mountaineering … yes, Twyla: there is a Hogfather.’

    There was silence from under the
    bedclothes, but she sensed that the tone of voice had worked. The words had
    meant nothing. That, as her grandfather might have said, was humanity all over.

    ‘G’ night.’

    ‘Good night,’ said Susan.

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com/ Philboyd

    Why does anyone like Ron Paul?  Because of his uncompromising position on the War on Drugs and war in general, which appears to be unique among candidates from either party.

  • Anonymous

    Why does anyone like Ron Paul?  Because of his
    uncompromising position on the War on Drugs and war in general, which
    appears to be unique among candidates from either
    party.

    Sadly, the effect is somewhat muted by the fact that these positions roll into his general War on Government, which by consequence also includes a War on Money, Racial Equality, Social Safety Nets, Consumer Protections, Commerce, Environmental Conservation, Health, Justice, Freedom, and Rationality.  Consistency in spite of reality isn’t admirable.  It’s obstinance.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    ” the effect is somewhat muted by the fact that these positions roll into his general War on Government, which by consequence also includes a War on Money, Racial Equality, Social Safety Nets, Consumer Protections, Commerce, Environmental Conservation, Health, Justice, Freedom, and Rationality.”

    Dang it, Astribulus, I’m still writing that blog!

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    Because, you know, I want to be COMPLETELY original and not derivative in the least bit. Just like every other blogger out there.

  • Anonymous

    And?

    Those are overshadowed by the fact that he’s an unrepentant racist, a homophobic bigot, and a misogynistic asshole.

    So he’s against the War on Drugs and has voted against the NDAA, among other bills. That doesn’t make him right. That makes him a stopped clock.

    On military time.

  • Anonymous

    Gah dog gonnit.

    Double post. Firefox is being a pain today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I guess it’s probably too late to point out that I meant that former Pennsylvania Senator and current Republican presidential candidate would emerge to be the frontrunner / Romney-alternative if something happens to Paul’s poll ratings. :D

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Lew Rockwell. I remember seeing a clip of him on TV from when he was on the CBC in the 1960s. The most absurdly stunning thing he said, I can still remember: “I’ll gas a queer before I gas a Jew.”

    You just can’t make up stuff like this.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    That’s absurd even from a hate POV: Obviously Jews reproduce faster, so if you’re a hate-filled lunatic they would be the larger threat. 

  • Baeraad

    Well, that was a… horribly informative… comment thread, if nothing else. I think I see what sort of person would vote for RP now. It’s the same kind of person who plans to have his head frozen after he dies. The kind who has read far too much sci-fi and is impatient with the way that other people are, y’know, trying to deal with the situation here and now instead of brushing all that aside and dashing off towards the transhumanist space age.

    So basically, idiots who think they’re geniuses.

    It’s amazing how much trouble is caused by those.

  • Anonymous

    I read far too much sci-fi, but only because it helps me deal with the utter rage at how horrible politics has become.

  • Baeraad

    Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that “too much sci-fi => clueless libertarianism” as some kind of direct cause and effect. I suppose that strictly speaking, I should say that a certain kind of sci-fi has contains the same kind of wrongheaded sentiments as a certain kind of clueless libertarianism, and that indeed I have gotten the impression that the adherents of the latter often read a lot of and are probably strongly influenced by the former. But it kind of loses its sting when you put it like that…

  • Donalbain

    Ron Paul is not opposed to the war on drugs. Ron Paul is opposed to the FEDERAL war on drugs. He has no personal stance on liberty of any kind. He is simply a Confederate who is opposed to the Federal Government in all its forms. If the states want to have segregation, Ron Paul is fine with that. If the states want to arrest people for being gay, Ron Paul is fine with that. If the states want to bring back slavery, I would not be at all surprised to learn that Ron Paul would be fine with that as well.
    He is one of the the most consistently vile, evil human beings in modern American politics. 

  • Hawker40

    Ron Paul, like many Confederate State’s Rights types, is a hypocrit.  He is against the civil rights act and Roe vs. Wade as ‘violations of state soveriegnty’, but is perfectly ok with a Federal ban on gay marraige.  He says he opposses earmarks, then gets them added for his district.

  • friendly reader

    Oh sweet mercy, if you wanted me to lose all respect for Ron Paul, letting me read the comments people post there was the best way to do it. Not the misogynistic ad hominem attacks, not the repetition of talking points after they’d been already debunked, not the conspiracy theories and gold-standard-pushers.

    This. Just… this. This is a conversation between a commenter who is the mother of a child with autism. She was arguing that Ron Paul’s desire to repeal the IDEA was horrible. Her opponent said that “Given human nature there is a good chance you and your family would be
    funded by people, the same people who were forced to help you via the
    government.” When she pointed out that this has never been the case, that people are generally never accepting of children with autism, and do not want them mainstreamed, his reply was:

    Jen, I’m sorry for your situation and I’d help as an individual and try
    to convince others to help too, but you don’t get to guilt trip me and
    all Americans into giving away our, and our children’s, and our
    children’s children’s rights to a totalitarian, corporatist, illegal,
    unconstitutional state just because it offers you the possibility of a
    better life for your kid.

    Just… jaw-dropping. Basically, I mean, the lack of any consideration for this mother and what she’s going through. Her very reasonable description of what life is like for parents of children with disabilities dismissed as a “guilt trip.”

    This reminds me of a great quote from Shusuke Endo’s Silence:

    Sin, he reflected, is not what it is
    usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one
    man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious
    to the wounds he has left behind.

    (Silence, btw, is one of those books that should have been on that list of “books all Christians should read.)

  • Baeraad

    Hooo boy. That sounds like every conversation I’ve ever had or seen with a libertarian who claimed to have a conscience. Ze cares about other people’s problems. Really, ze does. Zir heart absolutely bleeds for them. But, and ze wants to make this very clear, those problems needs to be solved in a way that does not require zir to *pay taxes.* Because innocent people being forced to *pay taxes* is the ultimate atrocity, and must be avoided at all cost!

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    “I’m sorry for your situation and I’d help as an individual and try 

    to convince others to help too,”
    Utter conservative/libertarian bullshit!

  • runsinbackground

    You know, it’s funny: I just read Anthem (Ayn Rand’s second novel) for the first time since I was assigned it in high school, and one of the things that struck me is how Ms. Rand will go from something like “people are made worse to the extent that they are harmed” to putting into the mouths of her antagonists sentences like “what is not done collectively cannot be good.” I don’t know what it is that makes people jump from trying to do what’s best for the education of mentally-challenged children to “a totalitarian, corporatist, illegal, unconstitutional state,” but it’s something Rand and this commenter have in common.

  • friendly reader

    Oh yeah, it absolutely stinks of Rand’s Manicheanism (oh come on, Firefox, that is a word!). There’s either total liberty or total tyranny.

    And what’s even nuttier is how collectivist his rebuttal is! WE the COUNTRY can’t let your INDIVIDUAL problems get in the way of OUR rights. The MAJORITY trumps all. People were calling them fascist on that forum thread, and while I don’t think all Ron Paul fans are fascists, there is that trend there.

    Which reminds me of a marvelous interview with William F. Buckley where he talks about Rand. She liked him for a time because of their mutual anti-communist stances, but then he let someone publish a review of Atlas Shrugged which argued that her utter dehumanization of a class of people to the point of wishing them dead was one stepped removed from the Holocaust. At which point he was persona non grata to her. Buckley said that the review might have been a little hyperbolic (today we’d say it pulled a Godwin), but that it had a point, which is what so many Randians miss… or maybe they just don’t care.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @e85bede4f90669b787be42b2913e35ce:disqus Thanks for the Silence reference; that was a fantastic quotation. It is on my reading list. (One of my 2012 goals to to finish many of the 12ish books I’m “in the middle of”, which I make more difficult by adding new books at a rapid clip!)

  • Ouri Maler

    This is only tangentially on-topic, but…
    “Yes, Virginia, there Is a Santa Claus” is an article that generally leaves me uncertain what to think of it. I mean, sure, it’s well-written, and it leaves one with a “hell yeah!” feeling…But every time I read it, I find myself wondering: What is it actually saying? That things without material existence have their own importance? Or that we shouldn’t rely on fact and reality, and just believe what’s convenient? I dunno, it always leaves me a bit uneasy.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    Let’s not forget that the lives of White people is much more important to Ron Paul than ten times that in the lives of Black people

    And also, slavery would have ended if we just paid slave “owners” to reimburse their property losses.

  • Anonymous

    And also, slavery would have ended if we just paid slave “owners” to reimburse their property losses.

    Waiter, I’d like a plate of US-centrism with a side of ignorance?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_Abolition_Act_1833

  • Alicia

    Just because they did that way in Britain (per the Wikipedia article):

    The Act also included the right of compensation for slave-owners who
    would be losing their property. The amount of money to be spent on the
    compensation claims was set at “the Sum of Twenty Millions Pounds
    Sterling”.[11]
    Under the terms of the Act the British government raised £20 million to
    pay out in compensation for the loss of the slaves as business assets
    to the registered owners of the freed slaves.

    Doesn’t mean that we should have done that in the US. People who subjugate an entire race, ripping children from their parents, treating people like cattle, obliterating their culture and language shouldn’t be financially compensated in any way for that. The British probably did it because it was the only way to get it done at the time but it was hardly ideal and it was perhaps the only shameful aspect of what was otherwise a noble act. I’m a little surprise that you would even allude to that reprehensible argument here of all places.

  • Anonymous

    My argument was not about what the US should or should not have done. My argument was, Jas-nDye was wrong to say that slavery could not have ended other than by bloodshed, because plainly, slavery did end other than by bloodshed.

    I’m a little appalled that you consider the deaths of six hundred thousand people the only appropriate way to end slavery. Especially since waiting around for the war to happen, rather than ransoming the US slaves when the British ransomed theirs, caused who knows how much suffering and how many deaths in the decades between the 1833 act and the 1861 war.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    ‘Jas-nDye was wrong to say that slavery could not have ended other than by bloodshed,”

    I said that? Really? I suggested that? Where?

    Other ways would have been appropriate and better, but I’m supposing you didn’t read the link so I’m not about to retread my arguments.

    “Waiting around for the war to happen, rather than ransoming the US slaves when the British ransomed theirs”

    Do you honestly think that was an option? Because it wasn’t. Too much money and profits for southern slave owners to lose.

  • Lori

    Do you honestly think that was an option? Because it wasn’t. Too much money and profits for southern slave owners to lose. 

    Sadly true. It’s not as if no one suggested going the freedom through compensation route here in the US. It was a total non-starter, among other reasons because it would have bankrupted the country and the South still wouldn’t have gone for it.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Doesn’t mean that we should have done that in the US. People who subjugate an entire race, ripping children from their parents, treating people like cattle, obliterating their culture and language shouldn’t be financially compensated in any way for that. The British probably did it because it was the only way to get it done at the time but it was hardly ideal and it was perhaps the only shameful aspect of what was otherwise a noble act. I’m a little surprise that you would even allude to that reprehensible argument here of all places.     

    As usual, it is more complicated than that. 

    While yes, enslaving is reprehensible and morally the slaveholders do not deserve compensation, practically something like it is necessary.  Slavery goes beyond the simple forced servitude of one human to another; rather prolific slavery creates an insidious system of co-dependence that is very difficult to unravel once it has become so entwined. 

    On the one hand, the slaver-owerns need the labor the slaves can provide to keep their economy going.  On the other hand, the slaves have no education or assets with which to strike out on their own and build a life apart from the slave-owners.  Declaring an end to slavery is a necessary first step, but it is not nearly sufficient. 

    A big part of the reconstruction period in the wake of the civil war was the attempt to make the society and economy of the south restructured to do without slavery.  It was not an easy task, and it was not completely successful either.  It took almost another century after that just to get the society in the south to actually be at least ostensibly equitable, and the process of making society as a whole equitable in actual practice is still on-going.

  • Tonio

    When Jas-nDye made the comment about compensating slaveowners, I thought this was meant as ridicule of Ron Paul’s suggestion that the US should have done that.

    prolific slavery creates an insidious system of co-dependence that is
    very difficult to unravel once it has become so entwined.

    And that includes emotional co-dependence. Southern whites who didn’t own slaves were among the institution’s most fervent supporters, because it meant they weren’t at the bottom of the social hierarchy:

    http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/civil-war-overview/why-non-slaveholding.html

    the South still wouldn’t have gone for it.

    It’s possible that compensation might have found broad support, at least in concept, if it had been pushed right after the Revolutionary War. Slavery had been a threat to unity even during the war – an original draft of the Declaration included a passage condemning slavery and the importation of Africans for it. I suspect that if any opportunity to do away with slavery without war had existed, it was probably gone by the time of the Missouri Compromise, which only delayed the inevitable. Southerners correctly believed that the institution had to grow or it would die, and not just because slaveholding states were in danger of being outnumbered in Congress. Ultimately it can be preserved only through force and the threat of force, for conquering new lands to sustain it (the Mexican War) and for suppressing slave rebellions. The fear of the latter was so great that by the 1850s South Carolina was a police state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Laugh all you want, suckers, but the Santorum surge is quite real. And, yes, that link is safe for work.


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