Sunday, March 24, 2013

Unpacking Rand Paul

I have been leery of Rand Paul for vague emotional reasons ever since he ran for Senate. I always liked his father, even during his crypto-racist paleo phase because it was just sort of charming in a non-threatening way, but I have never been able to muster the same feelings for Rand. Partly because he isn't Texan, and partly because he reeks of the sort of frat boy I never had time for back in college, but I never could quite put my finger on the real problem.

To add to my suspicions, I am supposed to like him. He is explicitly marketed as a libertarian-conservative fusionist candidate who is non-threatening and mainstream. As part of that image, he is more of a cypher than I would like, keeping his discussion as close as possible to things that are in the political mainstream whereas I would prefer the sort of candidate who investigates a radical re-assessment of our Indian Treaties, or guarantees rights for all post-human, alien, or AI sentiences, or gives a concerted, libertarian defense of genuine public goods at the expense of sham public goods like rural electrification. But "mainstream" candidates aren't allowed to talk about those sorts of things, or they end up like Ron Paul.

But Rand has always been cagey about just how deep his libertarianism runs. Certainly he is conversant in it, but it has at times been hard to tease out just where his foundations lie, and I think I have subconsciously expected the worst, since only my political opponents have reason to be ashamed of their beliefs while libertarians are capable of nothing but boisterous pride that comes as a result of believing Things Which Are True. Am I joking? Not nearly as much as I should be.

Anyway, Reason Magazine confirms my suspicions in a transcribed interview between Rand and Chris Wallace. He comes out against marijuana legalization but is working to reduce minimum sentences for non-violent offences, a position perfectly compatible with his personal branding that could well be mere political positioning. But then he breaks out this train wreck of a line:
"I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things you should be doing. I don't think it's a good idea. I don't want to promote that, but I also don't want to put people in jail who make a mistake."
In Rand Paul's mind, supposedly the mind of a mainstream C-L, things that are bad ideas should be prohibited and things that keep you from working hard should be prohibited. Because the citizenry has a purpose in life (to work hard) and it is the task of the government to keep you working hard. This is the famed Protestant Work Ethic metastasized into tyranny foisted upon us by the well-meaning and the ignorant.

As an added bonus, in the interview Rand brings up that if the last two presidents had been caught and punished for the drug use they have admitted to, their lives would have been ruined to which Chris Wallace replies, "[Laughing] I actually think it would be the last three presidents, but who's counting?"

Yes, Chris, who is fucking counting? Obviously you as you tally up your privileges as a member of the ruling class. Ho, ho, motherfuckers, we can do all the drugs we want and will come down HARD on any of our children (by which they mean the middle and lower classes subject to our government decrees) who dare to step out of line. Chris Wallace you are one sick fuck. One of many.

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