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The story of Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy as told by his supporters in Time Magazine's comments section
May 17, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

The story of Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy as told by his supporters in Time Magazine's comments section. Extra-specially meta thanks to an update which posts comments from underneath the same post.
posted by feelinglistless (103 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
For some reason I always find it weird when article-based sites take their comments seriously (or even notice them at all), whether it's Time or The AV Club. I know that the idea of the comments section is to create dialogue between the readers and the site's writers, but whenever that happens it seems to break some kind of fourth wall for me. I have no idea why.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:49 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's pretty mean-spirited. One could re-run the exercise for any candidate and get insane stereotype-fitting comments, particularly with choice of forum. This reflects much worse on Time than RP.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:52 AM on May 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


It's remarkable how many people want to vote for Ron Paul that think he is some kind of Third-Party type. He's a Republican, simple as that. Why go further afield from that simple fact?
posted by NiteMayr at 7:52 AM on May 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


it seems to break some kind of fourth wall for me

We're seeing less and less of actionable content in the non-community comment sections. I can't see investing any more time, money or resources into those endeavors.

People should go back to writing letters to the editor.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:53 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


oooooh they make this a series and do the history of obama's presidency as told through facebook arguments@@!!!1 oh no wait they shouldn't
posted by nathancaswell at 7:54 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ten reasons not to vote for Ron Paul.

1. Ron Paul does not value equal rights for minorities. Ron Paul has sponsored legislation that would repeal affirmative action, keep the IRS from investigating private schools who may have used race as a factor in denying entrance, thus losing their tax exempt status, would limit the scope of Brown versus Board of Education, and would deny citizenship for those born in the US if their parents are not citizens. Here are links to these bills: H.R.3863, H.R.5909, H.J.RES.46, and H.J.RES.42.

2. Ron Paul would deny women control of their bodies and reproductive rights.Ron Paul makes it very clear that one of his aims is to repeal Roe v. Wade. He has also co sponsored 4 separate bills to “To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception.” This, of course, goes against current medical and scientific information as well as our existing laws and precedents. Please see these links: H.R.2597 and H.R.392

3. Ron Paul would be disastrous for the working class. He supports abolishing the Federal minimum wage, has twice introduced legislation to repeal OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act and would deal devastating blows to Social Security including repealing the act that makes it mandatory for employees of nonprofits, to make “coverage completely optional for both present and future workers”, and would “freeze benefit levels”. He has also twice sponsored legislation seeking to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act which among other things provide that contractors for the federal government must provide the prevailing wage and prohibits corporate “kick backs.” Here are the related legislative links: H.R.2030, H.R.4604, H.R.736, and H.R.2720

4. Ron Paul’s tax plan is unfair to lower earners and would greatly benefit those with the highest incomes.He has repeatedly submitted amendments to the tax code that would get rid of the estate and gift taxes, tax all earners at 10%, disallow income tax credits to individuals who are not corporations, repeal the elderly tax credit, child care credit, earned income credit, and other common credits for working class citizens. Please see this link for more information: H.R.05484 Summary

5. Ron Paul’s policies would cause irreparable damage to our already strained environment. Among other travesties he supports off shore drilling, building more oil refineries, mining on federal lands, no taxes on the production of fuel, and would stop conservation efforts that could be a “Federal obstacle” to building and maintaining refineries. He has also sought to amend the Clean Air Act, repeal the Soil and Water Conservation Act of 1977, and to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to “restrict the jurisdiction of the United States over the discharge of dredged or fill material to discharges into waters”. To see for yourself the possible extent of the damage to the environment that would happen under a Paul administration please follow these links: H.R.2504, H.R.7079, H.R.7245, H.R.2415, H.R.393, H.R.4639, H.R.5293, and H.R.6936


6. A Ron Paul administration would continue to proliferate the negative image of the US among other nations. Ron Paul supports withdrawing the US from the UN, when that has not happened he has fought to at least have the US withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. He has introduced legislation to keep the US from giving any funds to the UN. He also submitted that the US funds should not be used in any UN peacekeeping mission or any UN program at all. He has sponsored a bill calling for us to “terminate all participation by the United States in the United Nations, and to remove all privileges, exemptions, and immunities of the United Nations.”Ron Paul twice supported stopping the destruction of intercontinental ballistic missile silos in the United States. He also would continue with Bush’s plan of ignoring international laws by maintaining an insistence that the International Criminal Court does not apply to the US, despite President Clinton’s signature on the original treaty. The International Criminal Court is used for, among other things, prosecution of war crimes. Please see the following links: H.R.3891, H.AMDT.191, H.AMDT.190, H.R.3769, H.R.1665, H.CON.RES.23, and H.R.1154

7. Ron Paul discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and would not provide equal rights and protections to glbt citizens. This is an issue that Paul sort of dances around. He has been praised for stating that the federal government should not regulate who a person marries. This has been construed by some to mean that he is somewhat open to the idea of same sex marriage, he is not. Paul was an original co sponsor of the Marriage Protection Act in the House in 2004. Among other things this discriminatory piece of legislation placed a prohibition on the recognition of a same sex marriage across state borders. He said in 2004 that if he was in the Texas legislature he would not allow judges to come up with “new definitions” of marriage. Paul is a very religious conservative and though he is careful with his words his record shows that he is not a supporter of same sex marriage. In 1980 he introduced a particularly bigoted bill entitled “A bill to strengthen the American family and promote the virtues of family life.” or H.R.7955 A direct quote from the legislation “Prohibits the expenditure of Federal funds to any organization which presents male or female homosexuality as an acceptable alternative life style or which suggest that it can be an acceptable life style.” shows that he is unequivocally opposed to lifestyles other than heterosexual.

8. Ron Paul has an unnatural obsession with guns. One of Paul’s loudest gripes is that the second amendment of the constitution is being eroded. In fact, he believes that September 11 would not have happened if that wasn’t true. He advocates for there to be no restrictions on personal ownership of semi-automatic weaponry or large capacity ammunition feeding devices, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act (because we all know our schools are just missing more guns), wants guns to be allowed in our National Parks, and repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968. Now, I’m pretty damn certain that when the Constitution was written our founding fathers never intended for people to be walking around the streets with AK47′s and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.” (That just sounds scary.) Throughout the years our Constitution has been amended and is indeed a living document needing changes to stay relevant in our society. Paul has no problem changing the Constitution when it fits his needs, such as no longer allowing those born in the US to be citizens if their parents are not. On the gun issue though he is no holds barred. I know he’s from Texas but really, common sense tells us that the amendments he is seeking to repeal have their place. In fact, the gun control act was put into place after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy. Please view the following links: H.R.2424, H.R.1897, H.R.1096, H.R.407, H.R.1147, and H.R.3892.

9. Ron Paul would butcher our already sad educational system. The fact is that Ron Paul wants to privatize everything and that includes education. Where we run into problems is that it has been shown (think our current health care system) that this doesn’t work so well in practice. Ron Paul has introduced legislation that would keep the Federal Government “from planning, developing, implementing, or administering any national teacher test or method of certification and from withholding funds from States or local educational agencies that fail to adopt a specific method of teacher certification.” In a separate piece of legislation he seeks to “prohibit the payment of Federal Education assistance in States which require the licensing or certification of private schools or private school teachers.” So basically the federal government can’t regulate teaching credentials and if states opt to require them for private schools they get no aid. That sounds like a marvelous idea teachers with no certification teaching in private schools that are allowed to discriminate on the basis of race. He is certainly moving forward with these proposals!Remember his “bill to strengthen the American family and promote the virtues of family life.” or H.R.7955? Guess what? He basically advocates for segregation in schools once again. It “Forbids any court of the United States from requiring the attendance at a particular school of any student because of race, color, creed, or sex.” Without thinking about this statement it doesn’t sound bad at all. But remember, when desegregating schools that this is done by having children go to different schools, often after a court decision as in Brown Vs. Board of Education. If this were a bill that passed, schools would no longer be compelled to comply and the schools would go back to segregation based on their locations. Ron Paul is really starting to look like a pretty bigoted guy don’t you think?

10. Ron Paul is opposed to the separation of church and state. This reason is probably behind every other thing that I disagree with in regards to Paul’s positions. Ron Paul is among those who believes that there is a war on religion, he stated “Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view.” (( Koyaanisqatsi Blog: Wrong Paul Why I Do Not Want Ron Paul to be My President )) Though he talks a good talk, at times, Ron Paul can’t get away from his far right, conservative views. He would support “alternative views” to evolution taught in public schools (i.e. Intelligent Design.) We’ve already taken a look at his “bill to strengthen the American family and promote the virtues of family life.” or H.R.7955Besides hating the gays he takes a very religious stance on many other things. He is attempting to force his beliefs on the rest of America, exactly what he would do as president.

So there you have it, my 10 reasons not to vote for Ron Paul. Please take the time to thoroughly review the records of the people running for office so you know where they really stand. Ron Paul has good rhetoric and he opposes the war but he’s not a good man in the human rights sense of the phrase. He is pretty much like every other Republican but more insidious. Here is a video that you should watch after reading this article. Really listen to what he says and how he says it. Watch out for the sneaky ones and RESEARCH! ((Orcinus: Ron Paul’s Record in Congress ))
posted by thewalrus at 7:54 AM on May 17, 2012 [133 favorites]


I'm not sure Ron Paul is a Republican. He's more of a PreciousBodilyFluidian.
posted by DU at 7:54 AM on May 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ten reasons not to vote for Ron Paul.

Google Rand Paul, if not sufficiently horrified.
posted by Artw at 7:59 AM on May 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


11. He looks like a Keebler elf crossbred with Gollum.

There is some debate as to whether this has actually happened.
posted by delfin at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is amusing, but utterly meaningless - cherry-picking data (in this case, internet comments) will always allow you to draw whatever conclusions you want. (And it's fairly obvious that the author is trying to create a biased narrative.)

Personally, the Ron Paul supporters I've met have seemed a little naive, but fundamentally good people at heart. Libertarians tend to be fiscal conservatives but social liberals, and I've never seen any of them demonstrate the kind of homophobia or misogyny that religious conservatives frequently embrace.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


For some reason I always find it weird when article-based sites take their comments seriously (or even notice them at all), whether it's Time or The AV Club. I know that the idea of the comments section is to create dialogue between the readers and the site's writers, but whenever that happens it seems to break some kind of fourth wall for me. I have no idea why.

posted by shakespeherian


What strikes me as odd is that it strikes you as odd, yet posting your feelings about posting here is no biggie.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:02 AM on May 17, 2012


Perhaps I should have noted that I thought that it quite ably tracks the timeline of Paul's campaign and that I agree that it should have been part of a series covering all candidates, including Obama.
posted by feelinglistless at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2012


Metafilter isn't an article-based site. It's much more of a comment-based site.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2012


So there you have it, my 10 reasons not to vote for Ron Paul.

But about half of those reasons sound like reasons to vote for Ron Paul.
posted by gyc at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ron Paul is one of the most disingenuous politicians around, couple that with Romney's seeming ability to be on all three sides of an issue at once and near pathological rate of outright lying, I think the two of them should totally be on the same ticket.
posted by edgeways at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2012


? which half are those gyc?
posted by edgeways at 8:11 AM on May 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Libertarians tend to be fiscal conservatives but social liberals, and I've never seen any of them demonstrate the kind of homophobia or misogyny that religious conservatives frequently embrace.

I don't know, I've been told "women shouldn't be allowed to vote, because they vote for increases in welfare spending" and also "contraception should be a state's right to choose" by libertarians, but you know, I think it's a really broad umbrella as far as political leanings go, and it's not like homophobia and misogyny are magically absent from Democrats either. That said, relying on un-moderated comments attached to free articles for evidence strikes me as a good way to loathe humanity and your own literacy really quickly, regardless of the topic.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:11 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I should have noted that I thought that it quite ably tracks the timeline of Paul's campaign and that I agree that it should have been part of a series covering all candidates, including Obama.

Personally I think they should have covered more than the 2011 portion of Paul's presidential campaign, perhaps overlaying the comments for each election, delving backing into Usenet for the earlier ones.

How long has he been running? Are there cave painting bemoaning the lack of coverage from mainstream media?
posted by Artw at 8:14 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


That said, relying on un-moderated comments attached to free articles for evidence strikes me as a good way to loathe humanity and your own literacy really quickly, regardless of the topic.

Ha, totally. This comic comes to mind.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:18 AM on May 17, 2012


Libertarians tend to be fiscal conservatives but social liberals, and I've never seen any of them demonstrate the kind of homophobia or misogyny that religious conservatives frequently embrace.

In my experience, Big 'L" Libertarians tend to be authoritarian douchebags, with a soupçon of racism, misogyny and/or homophobia thrown in for good measure.

Little 'l' libertarians tend to be fiscal conservatives who believe and encourage people to let their freak flag fly and fuck em if they can't take a joke.

But, that's just my experience.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:18 AM on May 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ehh. I bet if you cherry-picked MeFi, you'd be able to write an article that makes the site sound as insane as these folks.

I mean, the "can I eat this" threads alone ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:26 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


How long has he been running?

Seemingly forever.
posted by Trurl at 8:29 AM on May 17, 2012


Id vote a soggy peice [sic] or [sic] bread before I’d vote for Obama or Romney. I didn’t meant [sic] to bash soggy bread, but that’s how I feel. -Ghxh

If not for the spelling mistakes which make it clear that the wit is unintentional (I guess he suddenly realized that the soggy bread lobby might come after him), this would be a pretty funny and effective piece of rhetoric. I'm using it in the future.
posted by painquale at 8:31 AM on May 17, 2012


One could re-run the exercise for any candidate and get insane stereotype-fitting comments, particularly with choice of forum. This reflects much worse on Time than RP.

No, I don't think that is the case. RP's supporters are as good as it gets for picking out crazies.
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, for the most part I laugh at the [sic]s, too. But really - I'm pretty sure IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari have all included spellcheck in their textfields for many, many years. If you're taking a public position of advocacy, doesn't it make sense to do the bare freakin' minimum to look like you care about your message?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:37 AM on May 17, 2012


If ever a news “article” could be called trolling this is it. -DuderAbides
posted by onwords at 8:39 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're taking a public position of advocacy, doesn't it make sense to do the bare freakin' minimum to look like you care about your message?

That assumes they care whether anyone is listening or not.

They don't.

The main point is to convince themselves.
posted by aramaic at 8:42 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it is fair to say that all political campaigns with any any significant following have some % who are more than a little rabid about their candidate, and do more harm than good for the cause. It seems like RP attracts a much much higher % of that particular mix of naivety and irrationality, it is not so much "cherry picking" as hitting the broad-side of a barn while standing 10 feet away from it.
posted by edgeways at 8:42 AM on May 17, 2012


Hmm, is there a word or phrase for the practice of meticulously inserting "[sic]" at every possibly opportunity as a snide way of criticizing the person you're quoting?
posted by jcreigh at 8:42 AM on May 17, 2012


Whenever I think about Ron Paul supporters, I think about this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I'll argue against Paul for president, but I can't bring myself to think too badly of his wide-eyed supporters. We all want a hero, some so badly that it blinds us to the truth.
posted by charred husk at 8:49 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


A History of How Gay Everything is According to YouTube Comments.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:53 AM on May 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


I mean, they post on the Time comments section because they want Time readers to read their comments, I assume. I don't see how it's unfair for Time to spotlight them.
posted by empath at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2012


So there you have it, my 10 reasons not to vote for Ron Paul.

Not especially persuasive. Open with a fact, and let it speak for itself. Instead, you tend to open with a hyperbolic characterization ("disastrous," "unnatural obsession," "butcher") followed by facts that don't exactly support it. For instance, a quote from Paul about religion being "driven from public view" does not mean that he opposes the constitutional separation of church from state.

If you want to convince somebody of your point of view, it's the facts that count. Leave the characterizations aside.
posted by cribcage at 9:04 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh please, by internet message board standards, that was a doctoral dissertation. I'm sure you can find a nice factual treatise on why he's a terrible politician in dozens of places online, where such things are appropriate. This isn't exactly the correct venue.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:17 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the "nothing's going to stop us now" attitude of Paulite commentators. There's no political setback that isn't really great news for Ron Paul. Come in third place in a primary? That's great news for Ron Paul and here's ten paragraphs explaining why. They're bonkers but I admire their unbreakable positive spirit.
posted by octothorpe at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever I think about Ron Paul supporters, I think about this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I'll argue against Paul for president, but I can't bring myself to think too badly of his wide-eyed supporters. We all want a hero, some so badly that it blinds us to the truth.

Hmm. if the Obama presidency has been disappointing to the hopey chantry crowd imagine how disappointing a Paul one would be after decades of him being hailed as the one true savior.
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honestly, Ron Paul's movement is not all that different from the modern hardline conservative moment. Both view the world in strongly Manichean terms, both view compromise with one's opposition as toxic, both frame the state of America in very distinct US VERSUS THEM manners. Control of American society, law, prosperity and wealth rightfully belongs to US but THEY took it away and THEY get everything handed to them on a silver platter and THEY need to be stopped.

It's all in how you define "THEY," in whom you choose to include and exclude from your fold.

When you package "99% of politicians who aren't me" in the THEY camp, you're veering dangerously close to Lyndon LaRouche territory. What separates Ron Paul's movement from a LaRouche-style movement is... hmmm. I'll have to get back to you on that one.
posted by delfin at 9:22 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari have all included spellcheck in their textfields for many, many years

IE still doesn't do this out of the box (as recently as IE 8, which I'm forced to use at work). Draw what conclusions you will from that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here in the bay area we still get Ron Paul supporters hanging banners off freeway crossings and setting up tents in front of the public library. If anything, they're more enthusiastic than ever. I confess that when one tried to corner me, I laughed in his face, which is probably uncharitable of me. I mean I'm at least polite to the crazy homeless people.
posted by happyroach at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Extra-specially meta thanks to an update which posts comments from underneath the same post.

What does this mean??
posted by brenton at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Canada we don't have Ron Paul supporters, but we have 9/11 truthers hanging out at the Vancouver Art Gallery... I offered to buy one a free tinfoil hat.
posted by thewalrus at 9:49 AM on May 17, 2012


For instance, a quote from Paul about religion being "driven from public view" does not mean that he opposes the constitutional separation of church from state.

His introduction of a constitutional amendment to allow state governments to force people to submit to being prayed at, however, does mean that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here in the bay area we still get Ron Paul supporters hanging banners off freeway crossings and setting up tents in front of the public library. If anything, they're more enthusiastic than ever.

I just learned that an old college acquaintance of mine is Ron Paul volunteer in the Bay Area. His Ron Paul/libertarian-related facebook posts have decreased since Paul's announcement about 'scaling back' his campaign, but the number of posts about survivalism have increased dramatically (he's putting together a very fashionable Bug Out Bag). Make of that what you will.
posted by muddgirl at 9:55 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I’m a full time digital artist. I work on Games, movies, eviroment [sic] art, you time it. I’m a busy person. That said googling ron paul once a week and leaving a few comments does not get in the way of me playing starcraft2 and EVE, and doing my own personal projects and playing Tactics orge when I go to bed. Oh and I’m married and have to take care of our 3 pet bunnies. Oh right and I support ron paul because everyone else is MORE of a nut case. -Jaron DiTommaso

I thought "GOOGLE RON PAUL" was advice for people who are not familiar with Ron Paul, but apparently it's something his supporters do on a regular basis? Do they need reminders?
posted by brundlefly at 9:56 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


My GOD three bunnies?!? Where oh where would someone so terribly burdened find the time to both defend the free world AND play starcraft2?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:05 AM on May 17, 2012


A fashionable bug out bag. I wish there was a unicode of Bill Murray's face right after he says, "what about the Twinkie" for me to paste here.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:12 AM on May 17, 2012


what about the Twinkie

Yeah, that's just what these guys need is a Twinkie diet!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:18 AM on May 17, 2012


It's not, like, animal print and pleather or anything. But yes, I think a lot of the trends in BOBs are more about fashion than practicality.
posted by muddgirl at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2012


His introduction of a constitutional amendment to allow state governments to force people to submit to being prayed at, however, does mean that.

Although I completely agree with you, I think that's a silly and ineffectual way of expressing it.

The harm with state-sponsored prayer is not that there's something painful and distressing about hearing other people pray. The harm is the implication that Evangelical Protestants (or Mormons or Catholics or whoever is the local majority religion) are the "real" citizens--and that the schools or legislatures really belong to them--and people who aren't Christians are just guests to be tolerated instead of equal citizens. There should never be a moment at a public school graduation or a legislative assembly where the Christians get to say "Just sit tight. This part is for us, it's not for you."

I'd phrase it as "Ron Paul introduced a constitutional amendment allowing people to seize portions of state-sponsored events just for their own particular religious practices without regard to other citizens."
posted by straight at 10:20 AM on May 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I was surprised by that too, brundlefly. From the sound of the article it seems like a way for Paul supporters to stay on top of articles about him so they can comment and I guess counteract the anti-Paul bias they think exists in the media with a groundswell of support in the comments?
posted by lilac girl at 10:22 AM on May 17, 2012


The comment about the bugout bag reminds me of the sites that give advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse. So I wonder how much of an overlap there is between Ron Paul supporters and zombie apocalypse fans.
posted by happyroach at 10:25 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd phrase it as "Ron Paul introduced a constitutional amendment allowing people to seize portions of state-sponsored events just for their own particular religious practices without regard to other citizens."
Oh, it's beyond that. In pretty much every case, Ron Paul's idea of "liberty" is "freedom of state governments to do what they want to their citizens without interference from the federal government". For another "religious liberty" example, off the top of my head, he thinks that "separation of church and state" means things like "the federal government is not allowed to tell state governments that they can't outlaw sodomy, because that would be the federal government interfering in a religious matter". Or "the federal government is not allowed to tell that judge that he can't hang a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom".

He's like the Bizarro-world version of the Constitution.
posted by Flunkie at 10:25 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


My opinions about the guy's politics notwithstanding, I am charmed by the naivete of the GOOGLE RON PAUL refrain - it makes me think of Jack Chick's comics, in which people live their lives the way they do and then someone mentions that they can be saved by Jesus and they're just flabbergasted, like this is not something that they've ever heard mention of.

So pretty much the belief that the only reason I'm not on the Ron Paul train is that I just hadn't heard of the guy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:27 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


The comment about the bugout bag reminds me of the sites that give advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse. So I wonder how much of an overlap there is between Ron Paul supporters and zombie apocalypse fans.

Huh. My impression has always been that zombie apocolypse fantasies were more for centrists/liberals. Conservatives and libertarians don't need a fantastical outlet like zombie invasions, because their narrative already includes (1) increasing government encroachment, (2) increasing government corruption, and (3) a weakening of social morals and fabrics which would otherwise prevent anarchy. They don't need to imagine an intervening force.
posted by muddgirl at 10:32 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that every Ron Paul supporter is a tin foil hat wearing nut job, but every anti-vaxxer, 9-11 truther and even the couple remaining tri-lateral commision conspiracy theorists I know are all huge fans of both Ron and his spawn.

Really, just that they are fans of Rand Paul kind of make these people nuts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:33 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


the anti-Paul bias they think exists in the media

Yeah that crazy John Stuart raving about the anti-Paul bias in the media.
posted by straight at 10:34 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


For another "religious liberty" example, off the top of my head, he thinks that "separation of church and state" means things like "the federal government is not allowed to tell state governments that they can't outlaw sodomy, because that would be the federal government interfering in a religious matter".
Actually, now that I think about it a little more, sorry, that's not exactly true. Yes, he does think the feds have no right to tell states they can't outlaw sodomy, in part due to the Bizarro-world interpretation of the First Amendment, but no, not due to "separation of church and state":

He's on record as saying that the notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in the Constitution or in the writings of the Founding Fathers (of whom, I guess, Tom Jefferson was not one).
posted by Flunkie at 10:35 AM on May 17, 2012


As a connoisseur of crazy right-wing (specifically cold-war era, but that's just because of my age) rhetoric that jumps the shark right over the cliff into woo woo territory, I find almost every Ron Paul supporter certifiably USENET mail list, tinfoil hat wearing, backyard fallout shelter, HAM radio operator crazy. I mean, if anyone says "I support Ron Paul", that's the guy I'm going to step away from and never turn my back on. That's the guy who is most likely to have a complete mental breakdown when something doesn't go his way.

I have also never met a woman who supports Ron Paul. They probably exist. I've just never seen one personally. If anyone has, let me know. I definitely want to get a case study going to figure out this anomaly. Maybe I've been looking in the wrong places, but I certainly haven't found any that actually speak the same lingo as the dyed in the wool Paulites.

Also, I have made every attempt I can to engage with them and try to clarify their positions. Though I really haven't had the time or fortitude to delve that far into their crazy. Also, also, man, just go on Reddit and look at the Ron Paul subs and you'll get an eyeful of wowza. It truly is a reality distortion field, so far beyond Apple's purported technology.

23 Skidoo indeed.
posted by daq at 10:36 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


An old friend of mine supports Ron Paul. I've just concluded a 15,000 word email battle with him over his idea that contraception weakens marriages.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:43 AM on May 17, 2012


Rand Paul is basically Ron Paul stripped of anything you might possibly find good, and there isn't a damned thing Ron Paul disagrees with him on.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2012


But what if Ron Paul's real goal is not to make a scene at Tampa? Ed Morrisey argues in The Week that Ron Paul has his eye on a bigger prize: seizing the machinery the Republican Party:
posted by KokuRyu at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2012


An old friend of mine supports Ron Paul. I've just concluded a 15,000 word email battle with him over his idea that contraception weakens marriages.

I would argue that 15,000-word email battles about Ron Paul are an effective contraceptive, and also are bad for marriages.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:55 AM on May 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I only know a very particular brand of young Paulbots (and I feel comfortable calling them that, as that is what they call themselves) - now in their late 20s, generally from an Upper Middle Class background, attended liberal arts schools but got technical degrees. Heck, I probably would have been a Paulbot back in high school, when I considered myself to be fiscally conservative but anti-war. What always strikes me about Paul supporters (and I do think we saw this with a fraction of Obama supporters during the 2008 election) is (1) their ability to twist every statement to support their own viewpoint (Paul is against federal restrictions on abortion! Which means he's pro-abortion!), and (2) their ability to ignore or explain away actions that don't fit their heurisitic of Who Ron Paul Really Is. To Paulbots, Ron Paul isn't really a politician. He's a Symbol. Like "The Fantasy of Being Libertarian" - if only Paul could get elected, everything will be alright.
posted by muddgirl at 10:59 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: People should go back to writing letters to the editor.
posted by No Robots at 11:13 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's a Symbol. Like "The Fantasy of Being Libertarian" - if only Paul could get elected, everything will be alright.

I have some good friends who are both pretty reasonable people and Ron Paul supporters; most of the libertarians I know personally in Real Life are decent people who maybe like guns and pot a little more than the average, and if they're blind to Paul's considerable failings, well, he says stuff they like about drug policy, foreign wars, and so forth. In their minds, I really do think supporting him is sort of a symbolic rejection of values they find abhorrent, and an embrace of an abstract concept of freedom.

That said, I went to a Ron Paul meetup once, out of curiosity. I have hung out with some real whackos of various political stripes from time to time, and basically half of the people I ever met before I turned 25 were super duper racist by virtue of being from those square states in the middle, but I have never in my life been around so many crypto-but-not-very-crypto-racist truther conspiracy theorist nutjobs at once. It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

The problem here is that for that second group of people, Ron Paul is the same kind of symbol. But the values in question have shifted towards something much uglier, or at least far less coherent. And most of Paul's memetic success is predicated on how he can somehow be this thing for so many different sorts of people.

He's kind of like Jesus that way.
posted by brennen at 11:15 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's remarkable how many people want to vote for Ron Paul that think he is some kind of Third-Party type. He's a Republican, simple as that. Why go further afield from that simple fact?

Oh really, the mainstream positions in the Republican Party are to legalize marijuana and dramatically reduce US military intervention overseas? Great! Based on your comment, the Republican Party is much cooler than I thought!
posted by John Cohen at 11:18 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh really, the mainstream positions in the Republican Party are to legalize marijuana and dramatically reduce US military intervention overseas? Great! Based on your comment, the Republican Party is much cooler than I thought!

How anyone can take a word Ron Paul says as serious is beyond me. He's a politician.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 AM on May 17, 2012


it's less funny when you realize how many politically unsophisticated people who nevertheless have a clear understanding that something is terribly wrong there are, running around, and how little of a fuck they give about our witty urbane japes and dry irony

you can pit a scathing "tweet" against a not small selection of angry people who know that their lives are basically fucked and you can bet on the tweet but you'll be a fool
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:21 AM on May 17, 2012


The Republican Party was a rather successful big tent party, until recently.
posted by muddgirl at 11:21 AM on May 17, 2012


I'm not saying that every Ron Paul supporter is a tin foil hat wearing nut job, but every anti-vaxxer, 9-11 truther and even the couple remaining tri-lateral commision conspiracy theorists I know are all huge fans of both Ron and his spawn.

Interesting, the (urban) anti-vaxxers I know wouldn't touch Paul and his "fascist" ilk with a 10 foot pole and though they do believe that the 1% are actively conspiring to strip the 99% of their rights, they think "conspiracy theorists" are worthy of derision.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:24 AM on May 17, 2012


The comments on that comment article really should just be compressed into "WAKE UP SHEEPLE!"
posted by yerfatma at 11:27 AM on May 17, 2012


The Republican Party was a rather successful big tent party, until recently.

Yeah, a big WHITE tent. I would argue the complete opposite, until Nixon's southern strategy the GOP was the exclusive domain of country club elites. Nixon fought his way to the top and broke open the ceiling allowing every bigot, redneck, and anti-bilderberger/new world order nut in the door.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:27 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would argue that 15,000-word email battles about Ron Paul are an effective contraceptive, and also are bad for marriages.

Well, he's married with a 5th kid on the way, so about as effective as the Rhythm Method, I guess.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, sure, but Ron Paul is white. I should have been more precise, but Ron Paul definitely fits under the post-Nixon 'big tent' - his anti-war stances, for example, stem from his isolationism and anti-federalism, both of which are traditional conservative/republican stances.
posted by muddgirl at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2012


I met a Ron Paul addict recently. She launched into some obviously memorized spiel and told me that cars used to run on water until the Rockefellers changed all that. I asked her what she meant. She said early cars ran on steam and water is free but oil is not. At that point I had to explain to her that raising the temperature of water to the boiling point requires some kind of fuel. She was dumfounded. I didn't stick around to hear the rest of her pre-packaged verbiage.
posted by mareli at 11:46 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: "What always strikes me about Paul supporters (and I do think we saw this with a fraction of Obama supporters during the 2008 election) is (1) their ability to twist every statement to support their own viewpoint (Paul is against federal restrictions on abortion! Which means he's pro-abortion!), and (2) their ability to ignore or explain away actions that don't fit their heurisitic of Who Ron Paul Really Is. To Paulbots, Ron Paul isn't really a politician. He's a Symbol. Like "The Fantasy of Being Libertarian" - if only Paul could get elected, everything will be alright."

An old friend of mine -- previously apolitical -- recently started posting tons of Ron Paul stuff on Facebook. It was mostly platitudes about freedom that would have sounded just fine coming from someone of any political stripe, and I just ignored it for a while. Then he said something about how more people would support "Doctor Paul" is they actually understood what his positions really are.

Which is, you know, ridiculous. So I called him on it, listing all the disagreements I have with Paul's stated positions. The discussion went on for a while, but it became more and more obvious that my friend was closer to me in his actual politics than he was to Paul. At one point he revealed he was in favor of a single-payer health care system, which I found baffling.

To some of his supporters, it seems like Paul is more a clump of nice-sounding rhetoric than an advocate of actual political positions. Also, I'm sure it feels nice to be supporting something that appears "anti-establishment" from all angles.
posted by brundlefly at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Rand Paul is basically Ron Paul stripped of anything you might possibly find good, and there isn't a damned thing Ron Paul disagrees with him on.

>Ed Morrisey argues in The Week that Ron Paul has his eye on a bigger prize: seizing the machinery the Republican Party:

These days, Ron Paul's purpose is building an infrastructure for his son in 2016.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:00 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


>I would argue that 15,000-word email battles about Ron Paul are an effective contraceptive, and also are bad for marriages.

Well, he's married with a 5th kid on the way, so about as effective as the Rhythm Method, I guess.


It could well be that Ron Paul has added spice to their sex life. I'll have to try this with my wife.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:00 PM on May 17, 2012


I'd phrase it as "Ron Paul introduced a constitutional amendment allowing people to seize portions of state-sponsored events just for their own particular religious practices without regard to other citizens."

Not when your attendance at these events is required by law and under pain of punishment.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2012


She said early cars ran on steam and water is free but oil is not. At that point I had to explain to her that raising the temperature of water to the boiling point requires some kind of fuel. She was dumfounded.

One of my friends removed anything made of plastic from her home and replaced it with wood because she didn't want to expose her kids to volitile organic compounds. I thought her head was going to explode when I told her that VOC like benzene, formaldehyde, and MTBE can be derived from wood and it's no coincidence that the name "terpine" and "turpentine" sound alike. The lack of thinking all the way through an issue is not restricted to the Pauloids.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:09 PM on May 17, 2012


Interesting, the (urban) anti-vaxxers I know wouldn't touch Paul and his "fascist" ilk with a 10 foot pole and though they do believe that the 1% are actively conspiring to strip the 99% of their rights

Clearly, you know a better class of anti-vaxxer than I do.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:33 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had a recent kerfuffle with a Ron Paul supporter, who kept posting links on Facebook about Ron Paul's alleged success that were demonstrably false. When I'd post news sources with verifiable information about, for example, the number of delegates Ron Paul had actually had state-by-state, he responded that this information was false, countering with YouTube links. When pressed further, he simply dismissed any MSM source, saying that they were dead-set against reporting on Ron Paul's success and had conspired to not report the whole story.

I remember thinking wow, what an easy way to view your candidate's perceived successes or failures. If the MSM reports something you don't want to be true, you can wave it away as a media conspiracy. Must be a pretty stress-free way of engaging in politics.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:42 PM on May 17, 2012


It could well be that Ron Paul has added spice to their sex life. I'll have to try this with my wife.

Maybe they got Libertarianism mixed up with Libertinism?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:51 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


? which half are those gyc?

at least 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
posted by gyc at 1:22 PM on May 17, 2012


Awwwkward ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not when your attendance at these events is required by law and under pain of punishment.

Again, I don't think very many people see much harm in someone being forced to listen to someone else pray in a way they don't subscribe to. It doesn't seem comparable to the harm of forbidding someone from praying publicly in the way they see fit.

I think it's much easier to see the problem when you frame it in terms of ownership of public events. Are people of minority religions equal citizens or not? Do public events belong to equally to them, or are they just guests of the majority religion?

I think there's no harm done with me subjecting a guest in my home to hearing me pray in a way that they don't subscribe to. There's everything wrong with assuming Christians are the hosts at a public school graduation and that Muslim or atheist citizens are just guests.
posted by straight at 2:22 PM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think that framing is very convincing for people who are comfortable with Christian supremacy. Of course Christians are the nominal hosts of events - this is a Christian nation.
posted by muddgirl at 2:28 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


people who are comfortable with Christian supremacy

There are much, much fewer of these people than there are people who just think, "Aw, c'mon. It doesn't hurt an atheist to have to listen to someone else pray once in a while."
posted by straight at 2:37 PM on May 17, 2012


Everything about Jaron DiTommaso, from the video games he likes, to his pet rabbits, to his favored political candidate, to his name, makes him sound like the coolest man on the internet.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:56 PM on May 17, 2012


In my experience, those same people would not say "Aw, c'mon, it doesn't hurt me to have to listen to Muslim prayer," which is by definition Christian supremacy, but I admit that my experience is limited.
posted by muddgirl at 2:57 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, maybe the connotation of 'supremacy' is a bit harsh. Christian privilege, definitely.
posted by muddgirl at 3:07 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, I don't think very many people see much harm in someone being forced to listen to someone else pray in a way they don't subscribe to.

Only because they haven't heard me pray to Dagon & Muk'tk'kxi. I demand my equal time.

I'm not actually going to describe what Dagon demands, to say nothing of Muk'tk'kxi, but it's really quite filthy, features an enormous number of sexual threats, and terminates in some fairly bad things. Also, and let's be honest here, Muk'tk'kxi has some, err, unusual beliefs regarding the activities which constitute prayer.

It's pretty fun. I'm sure you'll enjoy it at the next baseball game. Bring a few extra pets. You'll need them.
posted by aramaic at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've definitely heard people say, "If I were in a Muslim country, I wouldn't expect Muslims to stop praying just because I was there." (Secure in the knowledge that this is never, ever going to happen, of course.)

But notice in that scenario, the person is picturing himself as a guest in a Muslim country. If you ask them "Should Christians in Egypt be treated as second-class citizens just because they're Christians?" you'd get a very different answer.
posted by straight at 3:54 PM on May 17, 2012


Exactly. Many Christians assume that Christianity is the 'default' religion in the US. Because they think this is a Christian nation. I think we agree with each other on the state of religious 'tolerance' in the US, but perhaps disagree as to the extent that this normative Christian privilege warps people's views of what is acceptable and what isn't.
posted by muddgirl at 4:09 PM on May 17, 2012


Or rather, speaking specifically to your second example, I don't think that Christians who are OK with mandatory Christian prayer would think that such actions make people with other religions into second-class citizens.
posted by muddgirl at 4:10 PM on May 17, 2012


Eh, I'm sure you could find crazy supportive comments for any candidate on the web. Remember all the nutbars on Hillaryis44.org?
For some reason I always find it weird when article-based sites take their comments seriously (or even notice them at all), whether it's Time or The AV Club. I know that the idea of the comments section is to create dialogue between the readers and the site's writers, but whenever that happens it seems to break some kind of fourth wall for me. I have no idea why.
You do realize you're typing that as a comment, on a website, right?
posted by delmoi at 4:20 PM on May 17, 2012


It's remarkable how many people want to vote for Ron Paul that think he is some kind of Third-Party type. He's a Republican, simple as that. Why go further afield from that simple fact?
Oh yeah, wants to legalize marijuana, and Heroin on a national level, pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, end gitmo. Totally standard issue republican.

If you're taking a public position of advocacy, doesn't it make sense to do the bare freakin' minimum to look like you care about your message?

You realize the vast majority of people out there are just writing to express their oppinions, they're not professional political pundits who are always "on message", and frankly it's a good thing they're not.
Honestly, Ron Paul's movement is not all that different from the modern hardline conservative moment. Both view the world in strongly Manichean terms, both view compromise with one's opposition as toxic, both frame the state of America in very distinct US VERSUS THEM manners. Control of American society, law, prosperity and wealth rightfully belongs to US but THEY took it away and THEY get everything handed to them on a silver platter and THEY need to be stopped.
Oh please. That's also a summary of the "99%" movement or Elizabeth Warren or any other politician to talks about wealth inequality or wallstreet or whatever. in terms of "THEM" taking away "OUR" money. ANd there are also tons and tons of democrats who have a very us vs. them mentality when it comes to the republican party - all republicans are totally evil and equivalent. People seriously argue that there's no difference between Mitt Romney and Gingrich or Santorum. It's ridiculous.

And of course they see no irony in them then saying it's great that Obama is always trying to compromise with the republicans.
One of my friends removed anything made of plastic from her home and replaced it with wood because she didn't want to expose her kids to volitile organic compounds. I thought her head was going to explode when I told her that VOC like benzene, formaldehyde, and MTBE can be derived from wood and it's no coincidence that the name "terpine" and "turpentine" sound alike. The lack of thinking all the way through an issue is not restricted to the Pauloids.
Wow, you don't understand the difference between "can be derived from" and "emitted by"? I don't know that VOCs actually cause any problems, but what you told your friend was pretty ignorant. A lot of times people who are "anti-woo" can be just as unscientific or uneducated as people who are "pro woo" or whatever.

posted by delmoi at 4:45 PM on May 17, 2012


> Eh, I'm sure you could find crazy supportive comments for any candidate on the web. Remember all the nutbars on Hillaryis44.org?

I was under the impression that Hillaryis44 wasn't really pro-Hillary, just anti-Obama. Kind of like the way I'm for Romney, in that I loathe Santorum and Gingrich.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:55 PM on May 17, 2012


HillaryIs44 seemed to be primarily an outlet for crazy racist weirdos - so a lot like the Ron Paul keyboard warriors really.
posted by Artw at 5:45 PM on May 17, 2012


Wouldn't Gary Johnson be a better libertarian president who has actual executive experience and not so many questionable ties to crypto-racists?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:55 PM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ron Paul.

.
posted by zaelic at 12:45 AM on May 18, 2012


Wow, you don't understand the difference between "can be derived from" and "emitted by"? I don't know that VOCs actually cause any problems, but what you told your friend was pretty ignorant.

Yes, my two sentence summary of our long conversation was pretty ignorant. Here's an even shorter summary: my friend essentially believed wood (painted or not) to be devoid of VOCs and plastics to be the sole offenders. I'm not so much anti-woo as pro-reading falsifiable studies before making major lifestyle choices based on conjecture.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:24 AM on May 18, 2012


Here's an even shorter summary: my friend essentially believed wood (painted or not) to be devoid of VOCs and plastics to be the sole offenders.
Looking around a bit, it looks like there are potentially harmful VOCs in stuff like varnish, sealant, etc. It is possible to get low or zero VOC versions of that stuff though. Your friend would have to do research about how the products she buys are treated. But raw, untreated wood should be fine, as far as I can tell. You also seemed to have one argument based on the etymology of various words ("no coincidence that the name "terpine" and "turpentine" sound alike."), that's like trying to argue that libraries might spread diseases because "corpus" has the same root as "corpse".

It's not surprising that argument wouldn't be very convincing.
I'm not so much anti-woo as pro-reading falsifiable studies before making major lifestyle choices based on conjecture.
There's no shortage of that when it comes to high concentration. The lower concentration stuff probably isn't a big deal, and the chemicals are present outdoors anyway (although in lower concentrations then inside homes). And eliminating VOCs from plastic objects probably wouldn't have much of an effect. But that doesn't mean that your point about wood being as bad as plastic was correct. The correct way to dissuade her would have been to look up the actual science, rather then just guessing about what it might be.
posted by delmoi at 8:23 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


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