A Message of Hope - What It Is and Isn't
Ron Paul is the candidate of the intellectual. I don't mean the cone-skulled ivory tower dweller. I mean the individual who thinks rather than feels, who acts deliberately rather than reacting. The message of Ron Paul is a message of hope, but it is a reasoned and reasonable hope.
What it isn't, however, is a message of anger or bitterness. I have already written about conspiracy theories and my view of how they should be handled; I am of firm conviction that they have no place in our public discourse, because they create an impression of jumping at shadows, when we could focus on the real and direct threats posed by the state.
Most importantly, our message cannot be tainted with zealotry and nationalist rhetoric.
ZEAL, NOT ZEALOTRY
An example of this would be, when decrying the war, calling names of our opponents. Labeling certain individuals as "Zionists" simply for supporting the war in Iraq is a disparaging use of the term "Zionist." This use colors our movement as anti-Semitic and there is no call for it. Accusing somebody of war-mongering is only slightly better because it automatically puts him on the defensive.
Let us instead assume the best of our opponents and approach them with the thought that they genuinely believe that what they are doing is good and right for America and individual liberty. From this perspective you and I can debate them as peers, educate them as friends and enlighten them as countrymen.
We can share with them that liberty and self-ownership are not something doled out by the state but instead something inherent and vital to human existence. Sharing these positive values will help them to take away a feeling that you and I are not only opposed to the oppression of people around the world, but that we oppose oppression here in the United States as well. Doing this will soften their attitudes and open their minds as we sow seeds of genuine freedom.
INDIVIDUALISM, NOT NATIONALISM
Another problem I see is what I call nationalist rhetoric, or the promotion of country before self. A groundswell of nationalism has followed Ron Paul and, while I thank the efforts of Alex Jones and Aaron Russo for their work in promoting a better America and Ron Paul, I would also like to advise caution to them and others.
The founders were not nationalists. They were proud representatives from their respective states, but more than that, they were individual men who opposed tyranny and loved their personal freedoms, not to mention private property. These were part and parcel of their cause when they fought to break free from the shackles of Great Britain.
In this vein, they moved to pen the Constitution out of a desire for common defense from oppressive tyrannies and simplified trade between the states so as to allow for barrier-free interstate commerce. They did not write it to lavish privilege and authority upon a select few or to create hurdles over which those trading were to leap.
The founders would be proud of the internet today for its ability to overcome many of the limitations in trade. They would also be proud of Ron Paul for his understanding that defense does not come from managing the affairs of Ruritania in its far-flung reaches, but instead from trading freely, thus promoting a strong economy and, by that means, the funding for protecting one's borders as necessary.
Nationalism, much like war, is the antithesis of free trade and thereby prosperity because it promotes the best for the whole, regardless of that whole?s quality, rather than the best for each. Love of country is fine, so long as it does not interfere with love of liberty. What I see, however, is this movement of "country before party," which should really be changed to "country before party, but liberty before country."
Nationalism is an abhorrent form of utilitarian collectivism because it blinds its advocates to the need for individualism. It may ultimately promote true isolationism, rather than non-interventionism as we close borders to international trade or institute tariffs to protect domestic commerce.
Ron Paul wants the people of this country to unify in an effort to stave off the clear and present danger of forsaking liberty for security. He promotes this as a point of unity because everybody wants to have more freedom and more prosperity.
Zealotry, on the other hand, only unifies a faction within the greater whole and crystallizes resistance to ideas promoted by people who have good intentions, but act in ways viewed by the everyday person as extreme. We can still be a big-tent group, but more than that, we can win more friends through charitable attitudes than through threats and insults.
Ron Paul wants America to be active in the world, as good neighbors and good friends with other nations, trading goods and maintaining positive relations, while avoiding ?entangling alliances.? At the same time, he promotes individualism, self-ownership and, to these ends, a government mechanism that protects, rather than manages, those rights.
Together, you and I can spread this message of hope. We can remind people that the government cannot exist without us. More than that, we can remind our friends and neighbors that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are more than nice words scribbled on an old parchment; they are the only means of having a truly free America, one worth protecting, and that Ron Paul is the candidate who supports this view.
--Michael Hargett, Organizer "Ron Paul '08 for 'Indy'-pendence"
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