The Libertarian Turnip Truck, Cont'd
by Virginia Postrel • Jan 9, 2008 at 5:50 pm
In response to my post below about Ron Paul, reader Bill Sullivan writes:
Bill makes a good point. Someone should have told him. There are plenty of people who get paid to do that sort of thing. I did not mean to criticize the essentially apolitical people like him and his wife who heard some good things from Paul and decided to support him.
As I told Bill in an email, I was never particularly interested in the Paul campaign, which I considered a fringe effort in both its chances (nil) and much of its rhetoric (too many conspiracies). Rightly or wrongly, I didn't consider Paul "one of the biggest mainstream representatives of libertarian thought." I'm not sure whether I would have written about him if I had. Life is short, I don't make my living as a professional libertarian any more, and I don't feel responsible for commenting on every libertarian-related development that comes along. These days, I am more interested in understanding culture and economics than focusing on policy, much less policing the libertarian movement. Plus, as the Paulites will be quick to note, I disagree with Paul on his sexiest issue, the Iraq war (and on his second sexiest issue, opposition to immigration).
I do fault my friends at Reason, who are much cooler than I'll ever be and who, scornful of the earnestness that takes politics seriously, apparently didn't do their homework before embracing Paul as the latest indicator of libertarian cachet. For starters, they might have asked my old boss Bob Poole about Ron Paul; I remember a board member complaining about Paul's newsletters back in the early '90s. Besides, people as cosmopolitan as Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch should be able to detect something awry in Paul's populist appeals. (Note that by "cosmopolitan" I do not mean "Jewish." I mean cosmopolitan.) I suspect they did but decided it was more useful to spin things their way than to take Paul's record and ideas seriously. As for Andrew Sullivan, his political infatuations are not his strong point as a commentator.
UPDATE: I've found the Texas Monthly Ron Paul profile, alluded to in the earlier post.
Comment on this item
Buy Virginia's Books
Copyright 2013 Virginia Postrel. All commercial rights reserved.