Monday, July 9, 2012

Are these your people?

I've been really busy this summer - even busier than usual - so I haven't had time to post much. I keep collecting links, but they go in my 'temp' folder for... later (which usually means that they get deleted en masse sometime in the future).

But here's one from clear back in December, so you never know.

The first post is just Ashley Miller wondering, "Why does anyone like Ron Paul?" I wonder, too. I just don't get it.

At any rate, agree or not (and I do agree), she makes some perfectly reasonable arguments. But this is Ron Paul she's talking about. So I'll bet you can guess what happened next...
The overall sentiment is that I am an idiot typical woman who takes money and support from unsuspecting, trampled upon men, an uninformed cunt, a mentally retarded liberal arts failure, a really ugly troll, I should either be raped or kill myself and I should definitely never reproduce.

Now, I'm not a libertarian. I'm definitely not a libertarian. I think that libertarians miss the simple fact, the basic fact, that we human beings are social animals. We live in groups. We survive, we thrive - or not - as part of a society.

We've always been social animals. We evolved as social animals. That's how we survived as a species. We've always had governments - or some kind of organization which allowed us to live together, to cooperate for our mutual benefit.

All too often, that organization was authoritarian, with a few people at the top dominating the majority. Thankfully, we have much more democratic societies these days. But, if anything, it's even harder to live as an isolated hermit (although, as I say, that's always been aberrant behavior for human beings).

Still, even if I were a libertarian, I don't know how I could overlook Ron Paul's viciously racist newsletters, his votes against the separation of church and state, his disbelief in established science, or his crazy conspiracy thinking, among other things Ashley capably pointed out.

But here's the thing. When people make the slightest criticism of Ron Paul, the crazies seem to come out of the woodwork with vicious personal attacks. Read those comments. Are those really your people?

Sure, everyone gets embarrassed sometimes by supporters of their own side. But libertarians seem to take this to a whole new level!

Ron Paul supporters are notorious for this kind of behavior. For every rational reply to criticism, there seem to be a dozen people frothing at the mouth in frantic hysteria - and with absolutely nothing to offer but personal attacks and crazy conspiracy-thinking.

Birds of a feather flock together. There's considerable truth behind that old saying. No, you are not responsible for what someone else says,... but doesn't it bother you that these are the people who agree with you?

I'm a skeptic, I'm an atheist, I'm an environmentalist (not an animal rights supporter, which is different) - I 'belong' to a lot of different groups, in a way. I've certainly been embarrassed at times by my fellows, but it hasn't been anywhere near as common as this.

In fact, it's often been the other way around, that I'm impressed with the knowledge and the clear-thinking of my fellows. Frankly, if 'my group' were this full of such vicious crazies, I'd really want to do some serious thinking about whether I had a rational reason to be there myself.

I've mentioned something like this before, in regards to political parties. As maddening as the Democrats can be sometimes, at least their heart's in the right place. And they're not actually insane. I know there are still sane conservatives out there - a few of them, at least - but I would be embarrassed to be a Republican these days.

And I would really be embarrassed to be a libertarian. Don't you think there might be something wrong with a philosophy that appeals so greatly to crazies? Are they really your kind of people? Really?

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