About Rand and the futureSubmitted by Dither on Fri, 08/31/2012 - 16:15
I listened to Rand Paul's RNC speech. The bulk of the speech was inoffensive in its principles, although it struck me as disingenuous by its blatantly partisan tone, as if Rand's fellow Republicans had not contributed substantially to the problems facing Americans. Rand will never win over Democrats and independents, like his father did, with this kind of speech. Ron Paul talks about ideas; Rand Paul attacks people — one person, in particular. As if we all needed to hear another speech from a Republican politician telling us how bad Obama is.
Then came the endorsement. Rand's endorsement of Romney towards the end of his speech was a non-sequitur: "an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises." (Dictionary.com) Rand advised the audience not to give up liberty for security, then endorsed a man who asserts that the president has, and SHOULD have, the unquestionable authority to jail or kill any person on the planet. Of course, Romney is also awful in every other way, as we all know.
The spectacle of Ron Paul's son cheerleading for Romney, at the very convention where his own father's supporters were cheated and disrespected, was too much for me to stomach.
Later, I started to wonder if I was being unfair in my reaction to Rand. I've read the comments of some people here at DP who argue that Rand is doing all of this as part of a clever plan to infiltrate the ranks of the establishment. When he's finally allowed to be president, they say, then he'll reveal his true libertarian colors.
After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that these people are sadly misguided. Ends and means cannot be separated. You cannot build a truthful community by deception. Rand is not going to change the establishment, but it has already changed him. Think about it.
Rand Paul is now a person who voted for sanctions against a country that hasn't attacked anyone in over a century. These sanctions are already putting lives in jeopardy. Iranians who suffer from hemophilia are liable to die from a shortage of medicines due to the sanctions.
Rand Paul is now a person who described Mitt Romney as "someone who understands and appreciates what makes America great, someone who will lead our party and our nation forward." The same Mitt Romney who crafted Romneycare and said he wanted to see it implemented nationally. The same Mitt Romney who supports NDAA and the assassination of American citizens. The same Mitt Romney who threatens Iran, Syria, China and Russia. The same Mitt Romney who crushed Rand's own father's campaign for the presidency by cheating at every turn.
This speech and endorsement were not inconsequential. Rand could have sat out the RNC. He was no doubt sought after by the Romney camp to help it co-opt the Ron Paul movement. Ron Paul himself turned down this role. Rand accepted it.
Now some people will point out that Rand has done some good in the Senate. This is true. But note that nothing he has done really threatens the establishment. Their power grabs are succeeding. Rand, like Ron, can vote the right way, while everyone else votes the opposite. The difference is that Ron never turned around and AIDED the establishment by adopting its rhetoric and cheerleading for its puppets. Ron led an ideological revolution by speaking truth to power. He gained credibility and respect among people who value truth and integrity over party affiliation. Rand is, at this point, essentially serving as a controlled opposition. He does not represent the threat to establishment interests that his father did (and perhaps still does).
I don't doubt that Rand's intentions were good at the outset, and that he still rationalizes his choices by telling himself they will enable him to do good in the long run. I'm not alleging a conspiracy. But just as Rand has grown closer, from the start of his senatorial campaign until now, to the forces he started out opposing, I predict he will grow even closer to them as time goes on.
The ends he sought will prove elusive because, as Ghandi once said, "the means are the ends in embryo."