Thursday, June 02, 2011

Bigot, Here's Your Sign. It's a Mirror

A friend forwarded an article to me to ask what I made of it.

What I make of it is a pretty standard smear of a quasi-libertarian by one on the left. Observe:

To my great chagrin no one in the national media has picked up the Bodineism meme, but they are starting to get the picture that there are some elected officials, particularly Republican elected officials, are about as dumb as sack of hammers.

The particular Jethro that I am talking about today is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Of all the folks that I have compared to Jethro Bodine, Sen. Paul is probably the closet to the mark. By all accounts he is a pretty genial guy with a good smile and a nice manner. He is also so clueless as to be a text book (given that all books are printed in text, wouldn’t that make them all text books?) example of self-satire.

I had to look up 'Jethro Bodine'. Ah- the Beverly Hillbillies! Well!
I find it very interesting that the left too often loves to use 'hillbilly' as a put-down. Substitute the 'n-word', and what would the leftist's howling reaction be? But somehow, this is ok. Same method and damaged 'thinking', whereby it's ok and har-har funny to generalize a group of people into a stereotype, and then denigrate away.
So, I don't put much stock personally into these kinds of smears. I tend to dismiss out of hand and stop reading as soon as I identify the bigoted smear. But my friend asked for my take.
Upon further reading, it has the other component of these smears against Rand or Ron Paul- "Oh, he isn't libertarian enough for the libertarians". It's an attempt to create cognitive dissonance and mistrust among those who support Rand Paul on the basis of pro-liberty sentiment.
There's something ironic in a guy trying to cause cognitive dissonance on inconsistency and hypocrisy, when he engages in it himself with his put-down. So, again, I normally dismiss out of hand.
The poor guy just doesn't understand libertarians. We constantly evaluate our 'exemplars'. Nobody will hold them accountable faster than we do on the finer points. On the other hand, he isn't my exemplar. He's a Republican, and we have our differences. I'd still take 10 Rand Pauls over 10 Harry Reids, or even 10 Dick Lugars.

To his point?

Most recently Sen. Paul (gods greater and lesser that gives me chills just writing it, ugh) has managed to trample the 1st Amendment with his “ideas”. Some of us on the Left side of the Blogasphere were more than a little happy that he was holding up the PATRIOT act renewal, by wanting to insert some amendments that would lessen the ability of the government to spy on its own citizens.

That was a good thing, but it does not mean that he was doing it from a deep understanding of the Constitution. You see after his ploy failed he went on Sean “The Manatee” Hannity’s radio show and said the following:

I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

Peel your palm off of your face. Yes, Sen. Paul, a man sworn to uphold the Constitution, just like every other elected official, seems to have an abject failure to understand the meaning, intent and workings of the 1st Amendment.

To say that Paul has an abject lack of knowledge is absurd. I think he's wrong here, patently. Does it make him wrong on everything else, as the word abject suggests? Well, the writer already acknowledged the value Senator Paul brought in stalling the Patriot Act.

Rand Paul is a politician that I have some admiration for. I don't agree with everything anybody stands for. I accept that there are going to be differences, even sharp ones, within the context of a greater agreement. Really, there are less than 10 in the whole Congress that I think of myself have some broad agreement with, and yes Rand Paul, and his father, are among them. Perfect? No. Better than the others? You bet.

I'd like to know how this writer treats politicians on the left? Does he eliminate them completely if he disagrees with them on a single point? Because if he does, he likes even fewer members of Congress than I do. Approximately, zero.

Physician, heal thyself!


Doug said...

Not really apropos of your point, but I like sharing the story. One summer, I worked in a warehouse in Ohio, loading trucks. A guy approached me and asked, emphatically in a thick Appalachian accent, "are you a hillbilly or are you a Buckeye?"

I grinned at him and cheerfully replied, "I'm a Hoosier!" He thought that was the best answer ever. He looked after me at the warehouse the rest of the summer.

As to the rest of it, I don't really get on Libertarians for hypocrisy. If anything, they're too wedded to principal. When I start getting on them is when all of their inconsistencies err fall to a particular side. (And, biases being what they are, I admit that I tend to notice when they're all about economic liberty and largely indifferent to social liberty.) At that point, I figure they're mostly apologists for the wealthy, and liberty is simply a convenient pretext.

Mike Kole said...

That's a great story! As always, the third option is the winner. ;-)

Sure, many right-libertarians may be so cast. The left-libertarians go the other direction, and are similarly noticed by those on the other side of the spectrum.

I will say this about the right-libertarians and economic liberty above all else, apologists for wealthy, etc: Most of those I know whom I would identify as such are curiously not wealthy. Maybe it's just an aspiration, or even a foundational point of reference. For context, some of the wealthiest people I know think of themselves as blue collar, even though that isn't their present reality, and hasn't been for a couple of decades.