Ummmm, yeeeaaaah. I mean, I might as well have met Ayn Rand today. After my 5 minutes with the current greatest defender of liberty? ... ummmmm ... I guess you could say I've been made a little giddy about the whole thing. Periodically for the rest of the day today, I would spontaneously break out laughing and shout to myself in the car:
I just met Ron Paul!This "reaction" of mine has recurred at least a half-dozen times so far this evening, including just after I got in through the door at home (and it's only 9:20pm so far). I think I've got it out of my system now. I ran through the 5 minutes in my mind a few times and realized I stuck my foot in my mouth. I was complaining to Dr. Paul about how the GDP includes government expenses and he made a joke. He said:
You know, everytime we lose one of these military drones over a foreign city ... the GDP goes up!I laughed. I told him how impressed I was with the increased cultural use of the term: "libertarian." I told him the story about my dad, who does not follow politics at all and who does not vote. When I asked my dad about politics recently, he said: "I think the libertarian will win." Now, my dad doesn't really know what a libertarian is, and so he couldn't name any politician who exemplified libertarian values -- but my point is more basic: a guy that doesn't follow politics (my dad) still happens to think that libertarianism is viable in the United States. Even if he is wrong for the time being due to the stranglehold of what I call the ABC's (aristocratic bipartisan cronyism), that's still not the point.
The point is that libertarianism is really "on the map" now. It is not just a word that only "poly sci" graduates use anymore. It is in living rooms now; and Ron Paul -- more than any other human -- is responsible for that. That is a big-time cultural-meme shift. But now I hear you asking the burning question: "Hey Ed, how did you stick your foot in your mouth when you met Ron Paul?" Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Okay, okay, I'll tell you. I know this is going to sound just totally out of character for me but -- brace yourself -- but I tried to impress Dr. Paul by making a statement that can be construed, at least in certain circles, as earth-shattering.
I tried to impress Ron Paul.
Yeah, I know. A fool's errand, huh? And when have I ever been known to go ahead and to try to say something at least marginally profound for at least the partial purpose of trying to impress others???
I quickly thought up what can only be interpreted -- in the current political climate -- as a "zinger." "I've got to hit him with a zinger!" I was thinking. Filled with so much emotion that it crowded out careful reflection, I blurted out:
You've permanently changed things for the better!Now, at this point, the good doctor had one of those expressions on his face that was in-between the common expressions for basic or raw emotions. There is an expression of disbelief, and there is an expression of a frown (disapproval), and this expression was half-way between those 2 extremes. At this point, I realized that I may have went too far ... so I tried hand-waving.
Now, hand-waving can serve as a good distraction, but you don't want to do it when you are nervous (or when you are in front of the current greatest defender of liberty, for example). I moved my hand up and down and started on with some gibberish about how there is an ebb and flow of historical change. This brought more of that same mixed expression so I realized that I had just dug myself into a hole and that I wasn't going to be able to talk my way out of it.
I had just made the statement that Ron Paul permanently improved America and I was not going to be able to get a "do-over" regarding that.
Ugh! After thinking about it even more, I could have dropped the ole': "A mind once expanded by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions" quote on him (because that would've been a zinger) and then quickly tie it in to how he improved the political debate in this country. Oh well. Hindsight 20/20. You can't win them all. You can't always get to say exactly what you want to your personal guru. Heck, how often do you get to even meet your guru?!
[An alternative interpretation of the 'Ron Paul frown' mentioned above may be one involving the humble shyness of people from the South. I have noticed that if you compliment someone too much, they'll reject the compliment and turn the subject away from their own awesomeness -- sometimes taking an emasculating-but-funny cheap-shot at themselves. It's like they don't like to be put up upon pedestals down here. Being worshipped comes with too much responsibility toward others, perhaps. Who knows these things?]
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 10/03, 4:22am)