Monday, January 23, 2012

What Would Ron Paul Do?

This is no doubt that Ron Paul is an "exceptional" political figure. The fact that he doesn't fit the typical molds has made him seem a non-viable candidate to some, and yet very popular to others.

What I find most interesting about Ron Paul has nothing to do with his platform or him as a person, but the fact that so many people claim to disagree with him in significant and fundamental ways, yet still sing his praises. Oh, he's honest; he always follows his beliefs; he's consistent; he's going to bring all our troops home and won't involve the country in any more wars.

It says something about the sway of the ideology undergirding our political system (social contract theory, ideas of "democracy" and the like) that people can "feel good" about a person whose beliefs completely contradicts their own values and principles, just because they are so enthralled by his transparency. People are that determined to have some sort of political power, for their vote to mean something (and certainly, voting for a person who renegs on all their campaign promises in some way invalidates the vote), that knowing what to expect trumps actually liking what is expected. Isn't this just a sign that our political system doesn't really work in the way in which it's ideologically justified?

I will say this, though. I wouldn't mind if Ron Paul made it to the White House, if only because it would satisfy my own curiosity. I have argued before that it doesn't really matter who is president. All the supposed power of the government and the presidency is wielded by a gigantic corporate-bureaucratic apparatus which comprises and extends beyond the government, and which serves an array of conflicting capitalist interests. Presidents are mere figureheads. If one looks at actual policies, there is no real difference between political parties or among individual presidencies. There have been more abrupt changes within presidencies than across presidencies.

So I wonder. It does seem that, up to this point, Ron Paul hasn't allowed himself to be absorbed by the system. But he has been a lowly congressman. Would he really have any influence over anything if he were president? Would he actually be able to carry out any of the agendas that he so passionately desires? Or would the ruling elite make him insignifant and impotent?

So, sure... why not Ron Paul?  If it generally doesn't matter who is president, why not solve an interesting theoretical question?  And if it turns out he's not impotent, then how much more fascinating to watch the entire world deconstruct!

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