And where they are joined is neither political nor philosophical. It is psychological.
This is important to understand, because Karl Marx’s followers first hooked up with him psychologically, not philosophically, and many (but not all) libertarians are libertarians for the very same reasons.
Libertarians, the Gnostic constitutionalists
If you don’t know the Gnostics, they were a 2nd Century Greek Christian movement. And if you don’t know the Greeks of the early days of the Roman Empire, they had only recently lost their own empire (Alexander’s, in the west and south) as Rome was building hers to the east and north. At the time, the Greeks fancied themselves the only true intellectuals in the Roman Empire, and looked upon the Romans as philistines.
Worse, Greek bitterness ran deep since they lived under both the protection and thumb of the Romans. They hated having to look up to their lessers. (Hold onto that thought.)
When Christianity began to spread around the near east, they assessed it, then tried to restate it in such a way that was more pleasing to their own intellectual sensibilities. In other words, the Gnostic gospels were made hard to grasp for the ordinary Ioe the Plvmber in Rome, Gaul or Alexandria.
But that was the point.
The Gnostics wanted a Gospel only the initiated could understand. You see, the Greeks had a big, big problem with Christ’s general notion that it’s best to come to God as a child in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven. “Suffer the little children…” was an idea they just couldn’t accept for it meant they must accept an equal station with, you know, C-students. So they conceived of Christianity developing in another way, with themselves as the intellectual shepherds of the Church.
(We see this all the time. Even the tea parties have been invaded by this thinking.)
But hold that thought, too, for that is precisely how many libertarians see the Constitution today, for they have an equal difficulty in accepting the Founders’ proposition, “Suffer the common man to come unto liberty.”
Libertarianism is an intellectual discipline of self-attainment. It’s a personal belief system, which is why it can never translate into national policy, or even a real political party. Still, as such, it is a pretty good discipline when viewed through the prism of the Constitution. I know and admire many Libertarians, none of whom carry any of the condescending arrogance I will speak of here.
Libertarians and conservatives both cling to the Constitution, but the former sees “my” rights (and interests) being protected, while the latter consider the rights of all men. The other guy.
Actually, the Founders were clear on this point, just as Christ was clear about coming to God as a child. Each of the Founders was an elite it his own right, but they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with the other guy in mind; the little guy, the common man. Jefferson made it known that it was the Homer Simpsons of the world he had in mind when he wrote that self-evident line into the Declaration, “that all men” can pursue life, liberty and happiness…without the supervision of their betters.
In doing this, the Founders established the “psychology” of liberty, which is one of reciprocity, for they set aside their own high opinions about themselves in order to create a system of government that would provide thousands of different roads for men less smart, less clever, and unread, to pursue, already knowing where the road led. Jefferson was considered a traitor to his class, in fact, just for believing that someday Tom the Tinker’s kids could grow up to be just like him.
Which some of Tom’s kids did.
Sharers and Tellers
This is what distinguishes the conservative from many libertarians still, not to mention an awful lot of faux conservatives parading about as being oh, so very much smarter than we are. Where elitism dwells, true conservatism cannot long abide.
But harkening back to the Greeks, one has to wonder why it is they were wired this way? Genetics? Is there an “elitist gene”? I doubt it. But what we know is since we’ve seen this phenomenon under so many different intellectual and social banners, from Greeks to Gnostic Christians to French royal houses, to Karl Marx to Yale’s Psychological School…
…to modern “elitists” and the little “l” libertarians, it has to be one of the hardest itches to scratch man has ever borne. Even more than sex, I’d wager.
With some, it is a compulsion, impossible to control, a true psychological impairment.
So it is then, that the ideology of the Left is entirely based on a psychological need for status, a personal ideal of self-attainment. Wait, I just said that about libertarians.
It is this condition that joins at the heart the modern elitist pissant with the founder of the communist movement, for it was that same inner vanity that compelled Marx to try to elevate a class (the worker) of people he neither knew, nor felt any empathy for, nor would ever dirty his hands to get near. He had to rescue them only to elevate himself. (Marx did the 19th Century version of searching the internet for a way to make a name for himself, and beat out MySpace, by coming up with FaceBook….but only for college professors.)
Marxism was always about Karl Marx and the secret supplications of his heart, which explains why it caught on like wildfire with so many low-paid academicians just like him, and why, over time, (tragically) it captured the minds of so many of the world’s down-trodden, by offering them a paradise it not only could not deliver, but never had any real intention of trying.
For thousands of years the world’s smart people have been divided thus: Tellers and Sharers. Both are equally smart, but while one is exclusivist in telling people what to do, or how it is, etc, the others are content to simply teach, and listen and persuade. One is wise and humble, one is foolish and arrogant.
So now, you can understand Ron Paul
Ron Paul is the enigma of this GOP campaign season. Unlike 2008, when he could only gather less than 2% of the GOP electorate, suddenly he’s swimming in double-digits. He may even win Iowa they say.
There’s a real down-to-earth reason for this, and that reason isn’t that he has all the answers to America’s bad economy brought on by Obama, for his cures are pretty much in keeping with the rest of the GOP candidates, with the exception of ending the Federal Reserve…which requires congressional action…which, by any account, he’d be least able of the entire group to pull off.
What’s behind this sudden surge in Paul popularity?
Actually, it isn’t sudden, as Paul easily won the CPAC straw poll in Feb, 2011, and came in a close second behind Michelle Bachmann in Iowa at 27% in the spring. Paul’s rise coincidentally began as soon as others saw his potential for wrecking, coincidentally about the time of the massive American blowback to Obamacare, and the fearful certainty that Obama would need help from outside the party if he was to win a second term.
So, right now, Ron Paul has strong support among many on the Left, only, they have no intention of seeing him president. It’s in the role of spoiler the Left wants to see Paul succeed.
Now, in fairness, I doubt Ron Paul knows this, or even many of his long-time supporters, since, especially from the Left, a Paul supporter is so easy to fake. Just dress up.
As the Dem’s used to say about GW Bush, “Once you know what he’s all about, he’s an easy mark,” and Paul’s vanities are easy to stroke.
Let’s just say that Paul’s camp has been infiltrated and probably for two years at least.
How do I surmise this?
There is only one way to square Ron Paul’s strong adherence to the Constitution on issues of domestic, especially fiscal, policy and his near-treasonous positions on American foreign policy since WWII. There is a common thread, which no one seems to look for.
How can one read and understand the Constitution down to the last tittle, yet restate American history in foreign affairs as blasphemously as if he were Jeremiah Wright himself? (Paul would be at least as slow as Obama to defend Israel, and probably for the same reasons, and if you don’t believe me, ask him…and watch how he deflects and parses.)
There is a common thread here, and actually I’ve already alluded to it. Ron Paul knows the words of the Constitution, but either doesn’t know, or has re-shaped in his own mind, a la, the Gnostics, its meaning and purposes as designed by the Founders.
He’s a Teller, not a Sharer.
Ron Paul loves the Constitution, but only as he envisions it in his mind, to suit his purpose, and not as it exists in the hearts and souls of other men and women. To the people he is indifferent.
The missing link becomes apparent as he ventures over into foreign policy, where he suddenly makes up law out of whole cloth, a thing practiced by the Left every time a Republican has been in the White House since Nixon.
In fact, Ron Paul’s “anti-imperialist” stance on America,. in substance, is Marxist-like to the core….not just rhetorically, but spiritually and psychologically.
He states that water-boarding is torture. He doesn’t preface it with an “in my opinion” but rather it is torture by operation of law, yet there is no law, no court ruling, no string of cases, that suggests any such thing. So where did he get his law? Well, he got it the same place the Left got their indictment for Bush and Cheney for their illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003…a position Paul also takes…even though the Congress authorized it, and the courts, including the Supreme Court have held to be perfectly legal; that the Legislative branch and Executive branch can make war in this fashion rather than an open declaration, as laid out in Art I, Sec 8, and which Paul insists is the only way.
So when Rep Paul says the president acted unilaterally and illegally, what is his authority?
In his own mind, that is the answer, which is where elitists from the Greeks to Marx to modern times get all their authority, that’s where. “This is how I want things to be, so this is how they are.”
But Paul has gone the modern Left one better, for he has declared all American adventures, from Vietnam to Korea, and certainly Granada thru Afghanistan to be illegal invasions and subsequent occupations. Even our presence in Japan and Germany, 65 years after the end of hostilities, and long based on treaty (also considered to be the law of the land), Paul chucks that out and instead, calls America “imperialist”.
Authors note: Quite frankly, I don’t care if Ron Paul can produce unlimited quantities of gold through alchemy and bail the whole damned world out, I’ve already had to suffer through two presidents who’ve gone around the world apologizing for the hundreds of thousands of white crosses that litter other countries’ countryside, monuments to the men who died saving their ungrateful hides.
And who continue to do so. We are the only country in the history of the world that has ever laid down our lives for our brothers, and while I can appreciate men who disagree, I cannot abide men who say, without knowing one damned thing, that these were simple acts of imperial aggression. It is the height of arrogance and stupidity to suggest we are just like the 16th-19th century Spanish, French, English, Germans and Dutch, trying to carve an empire.
Ron Paul’s gnosticism is easy to spot. In his written works he speaks of the Constitution and liberty as shining cities on the hill, but only as what they mean to him, and not to the ordinary citizen, or to human kind. He is not a sharer. He is a teller.
In the debates he wags his winger and tells. In his speeches he tells. He never singles Barack Obama out as a good, bad, or and indifferent thing, but rather dwells on “things in government” he personally finds offensive.
The only thing he takes offense is the personally assault on his sensibilities, but never the assault on ours.
When he speaks of the Constitution, he doesn’t speak lovingly of a wonderful ideal, but rather, like the Gnostics, of a deep mystery which he has been able to unlock and reshape. He is absolutely devoid of any love for America, but rather loves the perfection he finds in his own interpretation of its Constitution.
His love of the Constitution is a form of self-worship, so, when he speaks, he sounds more like a scolding know-it-all, talking down to all of us, conveying that he really doesn’t like being bothered by having to explain all this stuff to we simple minded dolts yet one more time.
(If you pay attention, you find this same pattern of condescending patter in Newt Gingrich, as well, which, while it may be cute when leveled at the media, as he does now, will take on a totally different image altogether when a President Gingrich…hope I never have to write that line again…comes before the American people telling us what dumb asses we are as well. Yes, both Paul and Gingrich would be almost Obama-esque in the way they look down on the American people at president.)
The Politics of Ron Paul
In all likelihood, Ron Paul has about the same support base now as he did in 2008, under 2%. Of the 8%-12% he’s polling nationally, more than half is probably of the Left who will leave when told. There are also those malcontents who are disenchanted with the GOP in general, but who will probably come back if a conservative gets the nod, and those who, as they have with Newt, mistaken his arrogant condescension as blunt straight-talk. Paul’s core, the infamous Paulbots, are still about 2% (5% in Montana). (He has, also acquired new legions among many under-educated, based on race and anti-semitism, but who I doubt the pollsters could find on a bet, and who also are too illiterate to find a polling place, or even know how to register. But how they came to be Paul supporters is a true mystery.)
Again, I doubt Ron Paul knows all this. Like a king, he listens only to his Wormtongues, and not the people outside the court gate. After all, he’s a Teller, not a Sharer. I can find no reciprocity in his words or his tone.
So, once he has done his job of splitting whatever conservatives he can, he may or may not make a third party attempt. But Obama’s minions will not be among them. Obama will need every vote he can get, and he can spare none to prop up Ron Paul in the general election.
My best guess is that in the end Ron Paul won’t matter next November, but better he should be driven away now. Call it gnosis.
I don’t fear Ron Paul ever becoming president, nor do I really fear a third-party run, where his support will dissipate. What I don’t like is a man standing up as a Republican-appealing-to-conservatives (a party I don’t like very much, but a brand I very much admire) and saying scandalous lies about his (my) country.
Ron Paul is no more a Republican than Barack Obama is a Democrat. Both carry another membership card in their wallet, and while not signed by the same founder, that have a common origin.