I wanted to take just a minute to offer a few "yeah, buts" to David Bahnsen's recent assessment of the average Ron Paul fan, which you can read here. David's a good guy, and I sympathize with a lot of what he is saying here -- but not with all. I have no reason to doubt David's sociological experiences with the hard right crowd, experiences I have shared a little bit, at least enough to testify to. Okay, he's on to something there.
But here is the first "yeah, but." I have also spent a great deal of time around respectable squishy conservatives, the kind who want to do whatever the liberals want to do, only more slowly and with a respectable amount of grumbling. I am referring to the kind who always seem to get the nomination. If the average Ron Paul fan is mediocre, then so is the average Romney fan, and so on down the line. It turns out that the average political activist from whatever camp is . . . average.
It would hard to maintain that the last half century of Republican statecraft has been dominated by excellence. There have been exceptions, of course, and I would nominate Reagan. So in the same way David acknowledged that there are exceptions among Paul supporters, there have been exceptions among Republicans generally. But for the most part, conservatism overall has also been characterized by mediocrity. This is not a denial of David's point -- merely an expansion of it.
The second "yeah, but" is this. Sometimes I think we level the wrong charge -- like calling a homicide/suicide bomber "cowardly." Yeah, he's got a lot of problems, but cowardice would not be one of them. So I would be more likely to say that the Ron Paul fans are fanatically hard-working and dedicated, not lazy. You don't do what Ron Paul is currently doing in Iowa because your workers won't get off their butt.
The third "yeah, but" is in response to this:
"It took us over 100 years to become this progressive and nanny-dependent as a society. It took over 100 years for the citizen to beg the government to do as much as it does for the citizen, and for the government to oblige said citizen. It will not be undone in 100 minutes."
Actually, at the rate we are going, it will soon be undone in about ten minutes. When we run out of money, we will have run out of money. When we are Greece, we will then be Greece. When there is no financial back-up, there will be no financial back-up. Here is a helpful little visualization I have linked to before. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom, and reflect on the fact that we are spending multiples of that amount of money annually, and we are doing so without being in possession of that amount of money. That is the kind of tab we are running up, and this is being done by all the smart people, by the non-mediocrities. And when we hit the wall, the resulting involuntary budget cuts will make Ron Paul look like a commie.
Last point. I really am not a Ron Paul fan. But I am a fan of having something happen in Iowa that might make the Republican establishment wet their pants. That would be good for the Republic, not to mention entertaining for the children. Don't tell me all the places where Ron Paul doesn't make sense. I know all about that. Tell me why the respectable conservative establishment will not sign on to certain critical measures where Paul is the only one who is making sense. Tell me again how many trillions of dollars the Fed has pumped into our economy in recent years without consulting anybody, without a single vote, and with no subsequent accountability. Why isn't it possible to get courageous objections from establishment conservatives? Why will the eventual nominee soft soap this whole thing?