Young Paulites: The Proliferation of Ron Paul Loving Young ‘Uns

Chances are that if you have any friends under the age of 35, at least one of them is a big ole’ Ron Paul supporter. Okay, maybe if your judgment is better than mine, none of your friends are Paul supporters. Consider yourself lucky. But you can’t help but notice that the young “˜uns flock to this guy in droves, and it isn’t just because of the pot thing.

Alright, maybe a good portion of it is the pot thing. Ron Paul wants to let us all get legally high, and that’s probably good. Jails are overcrowded and backed up because of drug offenses, and many drug arrests are racially prejudiced and full of personal and political bias. Of course, Ron Paul doesn’t actually care about the racism of the thing, being a racist himself, but he does care about all that taxpayer money going to feed those free-loading people of color in prison. Oh, and all that government regulation. He hates government regulation!

Except when it comes to women’s bodies. In that case, regulate away! Yes, I know this will come as a shock to all of the young, pot-smoking fauxgressives, but Ron Paul isn’t going to let you have an abortion! In fact, he’s going to try really, really hard to make sure that you never get to control your own body. You see, he, an old white guy, knows best. He’s a doctor, you know!

Apparently all of this gets canceled out by the fact that he’s known to be fairly anti-war. In fact, he’s one of the only members of Congress who voted against the war in Iraq. Because of this, the man is championed as He Who Shall Bring Peace to America. That’s all well and good, but when one of your primary causes is waging a war on a woman’s right to control her own medical decisions, it doesn’t hold much weight with me.

See, it’s a funny thing that going on here. There appear to be two sorts of people in the camp of the Young Paulite. On the one hand, we have the aforementioned stoner sort. The chill, relaxed, fuck-the-man, smoker with the liberal arts degree and the closet full of Urban Outfitters sale finds. I usually like this person, until I see their Ron Paul 2012 bumper sticker. This is the sort who swear that those racist newsletters weren’t really written by Paul, who act aghast when you tell them that Paul is vehemently anti-choice, rationalizing that you can’t always agree on everything, and who clam up when you mention that nasty little let-them-die incident.

And then you have the other Paul supporter. In Texas, where I live, these people are scurrying about everywhere you look. These are the I-think-I’m-too-cool-to-label-myself-a-Tea Partier types who are, well, Tea Party types. In my experience they are young, white, and working or middle class. They love Jesus, but hate women, and favorite activities include heckling women outside of Planned Parenthood and proselytizing to coworkers. They are most likely to use the reverential Dr. Paul title. Drugs are good, but sex is bad, unless you’re straight-married to a good ole’ boy or girl next door. They have queer friends that they talk about behind their backs, and the biggest bootstraps attitudes you’ll ever see, even while they rely heavily on the health insurance of a parent of spouse.

In reality, what you have here is nothing more than a money-obsessed conservative at heart with a mission to uphold privilege at all costs, pandering to the young voter. Yes, I know he’s never going to make it into office. They know that too. But it doesn’t stop them from championing the man to the extreme, and it doesn’t stop me from being concerned, even though I’ve got Romney-sized fish to fry now. I’m worried about my peers, the people I went to high school with, the people I’m in a graduate program with, friends of friends who I don’t even know. Those who have front row tickets to The Paul Show tell me one of three things: either you think you’re happy denying other people their rights because of your own privilege, you’re ignorant about what your Dr. Paul actually stands for, or you realize the disturbing nature of your candidate and are too proud to drop him like a sack of really hateful bricks.

No wonder I have so much politics-induced anxiety.

By Elfity

Elfity, so named for her tendency to be a bit uppity and her elf-like appearance, is a graduate student and professional Scary Feminist of Rage. She has a propensity for social justice, cheese, and Doctor Who. Favorite activities include making strange noises, napping with puppies and/or kitties, and engaging in political and philosophical debates.

21 replies on “Young Paulites: The Proliferation of Ron Paul Loving Young ‘Uns”

Great piece. I have a little to add.

ALL DOMESTIC POLICY ASIDE, I am so fucking happy that he has been on that debate stage spouting off the ideology of an intellectual libertarian, a right wing ideology that is not influenced (or isn’t supposed to be) by belief in anything other than liberty. His approach to foreign policy is something feminists should at least think critically about, even if it has flaws, and let’s face it, all political agendas have flaws. His stance against colonialism and imperialism is music to my feminist ears. I fully agree that with the number of military bases we have in the middle east, we are asking for an endless “war on ideology terror.” US soldiers living on their soil is a key reason this whole thing began, and I would frankly like to see it end, both the ideology war and the colonialism. I’m tired of seeing my generation coming home tainted from war and suffering from its effects for what will be the rest of their lives.

The amount of money spent on war is beyond absurd, and he is the only one on the debate stage that will say it. He reminds the Republican party that they are supposed to be financially responsible, and this includes money spent on war and defense and aircraft carriers and bombs and bases overseas and …. the list goes on.

ALSO, young people have lived most of our lives in a constant state of war. The war on terror began when I was 16, and the steady, gradual erosion of our civil liberties and the actions taken by Homeland Security are disheartening and counter to the principles we were taught that this country stands for. In this sense, perhaps Paul’s staunch opposition to war is a refreshing optimism that we’re not hearing from anyone else. Can you blame them for supporting his message in this context?

He stands a philosophical pillar of knowledge that comes from an intellectual standpoint, something Republicans aren’t really used to. (I’m referring to the religious right that I get the pleasure of dealing with here in TN.) This cannot be a bad thing. If more people are educating themselves on libertarianism, I say this is better for our democracy as a whole. It takes a keen interest in something to actually get into reading it, whether this is influenced by pot or not, I’m cool with having a more educated electorate (hopefully!). I will not attest to these people’s ability to think critically about libertarianism. That is something else completely.

For these reasons, I find him refreshing. I’m looking forward to his impact on the Republican nomination process this year, and I hope he runs as an independent, thus splitting the GOP vote and handing it back to Obama.

I have this friend.  This friend, in 2007-08, was the first, most passionate, and most vocal “Obama Girl” I knew.  She went a bit a lot overboard, actually.  She verbally attacked me once for saying, when the primaries were still going on, that I planned to vote for Clinton.  (Excuse me, fellow feminist liberal, what the hell was wrong with Hillary?)

Now?  She is a total, obsessive, rabid Ron Paul fan.  I DON’T GET IT AT ALL.  The only thing that changed in the past four years is that she became a mother.  It seems that now that she’s had beebees, i.e., “chosen life,” that other women don’t get to choose anymore.

I also have the pretentious Ron Paul fan who needs to prove he is Smarter Than You. All the Paul supporters that show up on my Facebook feed fall into this category. White men, upper-middle class, college degrees but still live with their parents and don’t work. Extensively quote books and studies to prove that they know about how economics work and you don’t and Ron Paul is the ONLY person in government who could POSSIBLY understand this. Lists The Road to Serfdom and Ayn Rand books as his favorite books.

Yes! Thank you for writing this. There are surprising numbers of both of these people in Missouri (even in the “Big City” where I live). And they make me S I C K. I am going to have to block so many people’s status updates on FB before this election seasons over. NO, I don’t care that active duty members of the armed forces support Ron Paul more than Romney. NO  I don’t care that Megan McCain supports Ron Paul. FRANKLY I FEEL LIKE NONE OF THESE PEOPLE TRULY HAVE MY INTERESTS AT HEART. Furthermore, I don’t understand libertarianism, especially in woman (no disrespect meant). I don’t just need a man to protect me, I need The Man. (The Man is not doing such a great job lately, but still I pay taxes and I like paying taxes, so he owes me).

The biggest debate (you know, civilized argument that inevitably turns into almost screaming match…at least on my end) I ALWAYS get in with my SO is over Ron Paul. He really likes Ron Paul for his views on states’ rights and the war in Iraq. He also routinely mentions how adorable and unassuming Ron Paul is- like he’s the only candidate at GOP debates that looks like he’s probably wearing pajama pants and slippers behind the podium. He swears that has nothing to do with why he likes Ron Paul, but when you compare the guy to the rest of the loud vehemently anti-gay pro-Christianity GOP candidates, Ron Paul does seem a lot less extreme and dangerous by comparison.

Now, my boyfriend is not a bad guy, by any means. He isn’t a Jesus loving woman hater and he doesn’t smoke pot on the reg. But, I do think that his views on Ron Paul come from a case of white male privilege that he has a lot of trouble checking himself on. Because he’s a white dude, he can choose to put issues like bodily autonomy (when applied to women’s bodies only, obviously) and racism on the back burner because they don’t directly affect him. And, I think that most of Ron Paul’s demographic (young white males) share that perspective, or lack thereof.

I think that’s the case with most guys who don’t really fall into either category, from what I’ve heard. I personally don’t know any, so I didn’t write about them, but it’s good to have another perspective!

And he does seem like he might have on bunny slippers and flannel pj bottoms on back there, doesn’t he? Makes me giggle.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I think the fact that so many young white dudes are fans of Paul should be quite telling. They don’t ever think that government can be necessary to protect freedom, because they have always been the masters of the universe and have never needed protection. They’re the ones – as a group – that the rest of the world needs protection from. These are exactly the same guys who say things like ‘I’m not racist, I don’t even think about people in terms of race, I’m colourblind and therefore race-based preferences like affirmative action are wrong.’ Systemic injustice is invisible to them because it has never, ever applied to them.

Though even the most privilege-blinded white dude should be able to look at Paul’s economic policies and go, seriously, wtf? Because I think it’s safe to assume that Paul was smoking something exceptionally powerful when he came up with that ‘return to the gold standard’ idea.

And even though the racist newsletters weren’t actually written by him – only published by him (which to me is tacit endorsement, but wev) – this is a guy who believes the market should rule.  So, when Woolworth’s was like – “hey, we don’t want black people at our lunch counters” – Ron Paul woulda been like – “Hey, that’s totally their right, and if you don’t like it, just don’t shop there.  Let the markets decide!”

I’m not down with that.  And I’m not down with Ron Paul.

thanks for the article – i’ve pretty much stayed away from the political shenanigans so far this season, so i know next to nothing about Paul (and would prefer to keep it that way unless he shows any staying power in the race).  from the sounds of it, he’s really only interested in keeping government out of *his* life.

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