"We should be like 1900. We should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district. There's no magic about FEMA. They're a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don't have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states. A state can decide. We don't need somebody in Washington."
-- Ron Paul, speaking yesterday in New Hampshire
I swear, sometimes I actually feel bad holding Ron Paul up to ridicule or even bothering to take anything he says seriously. First of all, he's obviously suffering from dementia; secondly, while he's an entertaining diversion and one that inexplicably inspires cult-like devotion among both the tiny "intellectual" arm of the Tea Party and America's early-20-something stoner community, he doesn't stand a chance in hell of winning a thing beyond his congressional seat. The only way Paul will ever see the inside of the Oval Office is if he's invited there by whoever happens to be president. And that's partially because he can stand up in front of a group of people and honestly say, without a hint of irony, that this country needs to return to the way it was 111 years ago. I get that today's Republicans tend to fetishize the 50s, but at least everyone had electricity by that point.
On the podcast this week, Bob and I talked about the school district in Pennsylvania that's now using sheep to cut the grass at one middle-school because it says they save money that would otherwise be spent on, you know, a guy and a lawnmower. Cesca's comment about the story earlier in the week on his blog was freaking priceless: "We’re seriously a few more sheep and a Thunderdome away from becoming Bartertown."
But that's apparently what guys like Ron Paul want.
I've been over this before so I'm not going to repeat myself at length. Suffice it to say, though, that this Randian asshole, every-man-for-himself brand of libertarianism that Paul and his monkey son espouse -- and which seems to have found an audience among the craziest sliver of the electoral pie -- is exactly as advertised. I'll give Paul this, he makes it perfectly clear what he's all about and doesn't hedge one bit; he wants you to know that he doesn't give a rat's ass about you as an American or about this nation as a world leader or superpower. About to get slammed by a hurricane? Tough shit, pal -- you're on your own. It's your fault for living where the hurricanes are and it's certainly not my problem or responsibility. The rest of the world's gonna laugh at this once-mighty country if we allow ourselves to regress to the point of being, basically, a Third World feudal society peppered with frontier towns and no centralized government to speak of? So be it.
Again, there's a point to be made that it's a waste of time and copy-space to give Paul's ramblings any more credence than those of the recently released Bellevue patient who's now staked out a soapbox in the middle of Central Park. For Christ's sake, in 1977 Jimmy Carter implored this country to make the tiny sacrifice of dropping the thermostat a few degrees and wearing a sweater -- and he was publicly castigated for it. You think Americans are gonna go for the abandonment of entire swaths of the country and its people every time a disaster like a monster hurricane hits? You're even more of a lunatic than Ron Paul -- and that's not easy.