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 Why I think a Ron Paul republican will become president and the power of cult followings

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Clairvoyant



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Join date : 2009-11-19

PostSubject: Why I think a Ron Paul republican will become president and the power of cult followings   Tue 24 Nov 2009, 1:54 pm

I think most of us here would agree that Ron Paul, knowingly or unknowingly, has established himself as a cult leader among his hardcore followers, and as a mass media icon for conservative/limited government - the classic Reagan republican stance (which of course was a farce even then). If you talked to Ron Paul supporters many of them would be quick to point out how superior he is to Reagan, my point is that the underlying ideal of limited government is very similar regardless of how different the two men may be. I think it is also important to note that for all the good things Paul stands for, what he does not clearly speak out against is the evil nature of ALL government (or involuntary action if you would prefer to say it that way) which of course leads to inconsistencies within his own beliefs - 'government intervention is always bad, except for here, here, and here'. Being that he has been personal friends with people like Murry Rothbard and Lew Rockwell, I have a hard time giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one, but I am not writing this to trash Paul - that is irrelevant as far as I am concerned.

I read an article just a few days ago titled "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult" by Murry Rothbard and published on lewrockwell.com. The article does a good job of outlining the classic trademarks of cult behavior and then goes on to demonstrate how the Ayn Rand cult fit the bill. The one key point that leads to other forms of cult behavior is a figurehead who's beliefs and decisions are considered more relevant or truthful above all other members of the group, rationality be damned. You can see this same type of behavior among Ron Paul supporters, and they will apply it to both Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul (it is common for cults to apply credibility in order of the chain of command). When the figurehead comes forward on one issue or another, the members will then backwards-analyze the issue to create an explanation that seems to line up with their conservative beliefs and their figurehead's chosen stance on the issue at the same time.

If you want to see a good example of this, go to RPF and look for any thread discussing Rand Paul's horrible stance on Guantanamo victims and the war in Afghanistan - certainly for each thread you find you will also find members defending these positions, and overall the group will not be willing to drop Rand Paul because of this, they simply value who he is and what he might be able to do over set principles.

Now when I look at Ron Paul, I can see how very convenient he could be to the elites that run our society. It is also interesting that as long has he has been a congressman, he has only recently reached cult status - at a time when at best he has one more Presidential run left in him and the movement will be begging for a new leader (the desire for a new leader is also all over RPF). This is a perfect opportunity for them to make good use of the cult like loyalty that has been created and swap in a new leader who will be the neocon-lite Reagan type of guy, maybe this will be Rand Paul or Sarah Palin, or even someone else, but I think the opportunity is clearly there.

Then consider other trends within what I would consider to be the mainstream freedom movement. It is dominated on one side by people like Alex Jones who are always pushing fear - fear of death, fear of government genocide, fear of government concentration camps. Then on the other side it is people like Peter Schiff, they don't quite preach the fear side so much as complete economic collapse, and how the US government will be completely destroyed if we continue these economic policies, and they tend to explain it as pure stupidity rather than violent evil that you see in the Alex Jones camp. Overall I see the freedom movement to be far more about fear and a doom and gloom future than it is about positive principled action.

So lets so they throw in a Ron Paul republican into the white house, people who are afraid right now would breath a sigh of relief and there would then be hope for the future because "their man" is in the white house. If they played it right it could be the Reagan years all over again as they lead the freedom movement down a path to where they pay less attention the the overall reality of our society while getting more and more involved with political in-fighting. I think the majority of Ron Paul supporters don't even expect to have political success, they just do it for the "let it not be said that we did nothing" romantic/martyr type reasons, if they actually did get someone in the white house I am certain they would be completely intoxicated by their success.
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ScoutsHonor



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PostSubject: Re: Why I think a Ron Paul republican will become president and the power of cult followings   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 10:39 am

Kraig,

Excellent piece. I am in close to 100% agreement.

Just one quibble: not all Objectivists, are cultists. I'd even go so far as to say that anyone who's an Ayn Rand cultist,
*isn't* an Objectivist and AR would probably be the first to agree.

But it's fair to say, she ruled the group around her far too
tyrannically (IMO). It's also fair to say she was a brilliant philosopher...that shouldn't be taken away from her.


Regards.
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Clairvoyant



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PostSubject: Re: Why I think a Ron Paul republican will become president and the power of cult followings   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 10:58 am

Of course not all Objectivists are cultists (and neither are all Ron Paul supporters), perhaps I should have mentioned that, I agree completely. Rand wrote some fantastic novels, I don't think anything can take away from the work she did there. Maybe having so many people respect her to the level they did just went to her head, or maybe the claims by Rothbard were rare or exaggerated, I really don't know. Anyways it is a critique on the overall group mentality that surrounded her, while not having much to do with her work specifically (even Rothbard seemed to enjoy her written work, if not meeting her in person). If you haven't read the article I mentioned you might find it interesting, but it is worth mentioning that Rothbard and Rand had some kind of personal feud going, I believe over the religion of Rothbard's wife.

The real value in the article for me was how it outlined classic cult-like behavior, and how my personal experiences with the Ron Paul crowd matched up with much of that.
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ScoutsHonor



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PostSubject: Re: Why I think a Ron Paul republican will become president and the power of cult followings   Thu 26 Nov 2009, 12:31 am

Kraig wrote:
Of course not all Objectivists are cultists (and neither are all Ron Paul supporters), perhaps I should have mentioned that, I agree completely. Rand wrote some fantastic novels, I don't think anything can take away from the work she did there. Maybe having so many people respect her to the level they did just went to her head, or maybe the claims by Rothbard were rare or exaggerated, I really don't know. Anyways it is a critique on the overall group mentality that surrounded her, while not having much to do with her work specifically (even Rothbard seemed to enjoy her written work, if not meeting her in person). If you haven't read the article I mentioned you might find it interesting, but it is worth mentioning that Rothbard and Rand had some kind of personal feud going, I believe over the religion of Rothbard's wife.

I tend to agree with your opinion. Just like an ordinary person (g), she was over-impressed with herself because of the adulation she received, imo. Personally, I think Rothbard's unceasing vendetta against her doesn't speak well for him--he should have just gotten on with his life and not seemingly made a damn career out of besmirching her reputation.

Quote :
The real value in the article for me was how it outlined classic cult-like behavior, and how my personal experiences with the Ron Paul crowd matched up with much of that.
Yeah, it seems like typical cult behavior, in both cases. Although Ron Paul's "minions" wield the terrifying threat of !heresy! on his behalf, whereas Ayn Rand did that HERSELF. Too bad; it's a complicated involvement of ego with the "adored one" that I think is dangerous and demeaning for both sides.

But it's nice that there are still those who see very clearly. It brightens my view of the human condition, so-called. ;-) Thanks again for the clear portrait.
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