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Tuesday, October 2 - 4:15pmSanction this postReply
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Had this been a certain other notable the blog title would have read:

"Serendipitous Pillory of Hillary"



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Tuesday, October 2 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
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Fan-boy moment eh, Ed? :)



Post 2

Tuesday, October 2 - 7:16pmSanction this postReply
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[laughter] Luke! [laughter]

You crack me up man!

Ed




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Post 3

Tuesday, October 2 - 8:05pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

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?!

:-)

Ed

[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)




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Post 4

Tuesday, October 2 - 8:40pmSanction this postReply
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If there's one thing I like about you Ed, it's your youthful energy. It's really obvious in your writing style.

Hell, I'm young, and I can't muster that energy as often as I'd like. I've been disappointed too many times, in short, I feel tired and run-down.

But your post on Paul does give me energy and, dare I say it, hope. No, not the "Hope" the experimenter-in-chief goes on about.

I'm glad to see such joy in the world, if only in a single post on a forum.

So, thank you Ed!

P.S. I'm sure Ron Paul was glad to meet a fan. Don't worry about the comment, I'm sure your sense of life was apparent to Dr. Paul.



Post 5

Wednesday, October 3 - 1:43amSanction this postReply
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Well I am at a loss for words other thann...
That is freeeking cooooooolllll!!!
Seeing your zest for life realllly comes through in this thread and brings a smile to my face.




Post 6

Wednesday, October 3 - 9:34amSanction this postReply
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Ed,
Indeed, Southern Gentlemen are not comfortable on pedestals.  Southern Gentlewomen, on the other hand.....  ;-)

Humble shyness = practiced graciousness.  That's not to say that there is no genuine humility or shyness in the South.  Just that receiving praise graciously is taught and encouraged.  On a related note, we in the South are experts, under the appropriate circumstances, at making a show of heaping praise and niceties when the true intent is to embarrass and belittle.  The reaction you received from Ron Paul could have a been at first practiced grace upon receiving a compliment and then suspicion that you had ill-intent when you continued to gush.

But I wasn't there and I don't know Ron Paul, so I'm really just speculating, of course.  Congrats on meeting your guru and on making an impression.




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Post 7

Wednesday, October 3 - 3:15pmSanction this postReply
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I'm glad you were enthralled, Ed, but I still can't stand the nut.



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Post 8

Friday, October 5 - 6:40pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

Thanks for sharing that with me, my brother in arms. I'm sorry to hear you are currently in a spiritual rut, like a 4-wheeler stuck in a mud-bog. You know, we having rotating roles sometimes. Sometimes you're the light, sometimes you're the mirror that reflects it out to others, and sometimes you are carrying the water for either the light or the mirror.

Kyle, you complete me. Okay, thaaaaat was just a little bit too fruity for my tastes! Let me start over: Kyle, your praise is energizing to me. Thanks for carrying my water. Ahhh, geezus christo! -- that doesn't sound very good, either! I'll carry your water if you carry ... . Ah shucks, I'm trying to reach out to you here, man! What does a guy have to do in order to be able to reach out to another guy without sounding ... well ... you know ... without sounding ... er, uh, ... mushy? [And no pithy comments from the RoR Peanut Gallery, either!**]

Ed

**I had a teacher who often asked, in the middle of a lecture, if there were any "comments from the peanut gallery". I pictured a bunch of onlooking critics eating peanuts and throwing peanut shells at the guy onstage.




Post 9

Friday, October 5 - 7:19pmSanction this postReply
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Jules, I'm glad being glad made you glad. One of these days we'll have to have coffee and share our work/life stories.

Deanna, Thanks for the insight. As you know I'm new to the South, and am currently on a learning curve. It didn't comfort me to learn that Ron Paul might've been suspicious of me due to my lavishing of praise, but more information is almost always a good thing to have (so I'm still glad you said it).

Tres, Thanks for chiming in. I'm kind of a nut myself, so maybe that explains, at least in part, why I'm so enthralled by the man.

:-)

Ed

p.s. I'm just thrilled that this man stopped his bike ride to ride over to me and 'give me the time of day.' I do not believe that either of the 2 major candidates remaining  -- with no cameras rolling -- would have ever done so. Even though Glenn Beck and others now claim to be in possession of insight that Mitt R. has this kind (the "Ron Paul" kind) of true statesmanship.** Now, in order to get his attention I shouted a phrase that you only really hear in the South:
I appreciate you!
In the North, when we like something that others have done either to or for us, we say we appreciate that ("Thanks, fellow Northerner! I really appreciate that!"). In the South, they don't just appreciate the act, they appreciate the person (the one behind the act). It's a verbal subtlety but such subtleties can be important at times. Contrary to my vast experience north of the 44th parallel, I do not believe that I've heard "I appreciate that." in the several months that I've been down here (though I've heard the southern version many times). Anyway, the phrase worked. The liberty champion steered his bicycle right up to me, and we had our 5-minutes of "face-time."

**Caveat: But as Jefferson warned, we should not pick presidents based on our ascertainment of their character, but rather on the constitutionality of their policies and voting records.

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 10/05, 7:35pm)




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Saturday, October 6 - 7:05pmSanction this postReply
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_-02dpyPaw







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Post 11

Saturday, October 6 - 8:18pmSanction this postReply
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Ron Paul remains the only congressman that I know of that has remained true to the principles of Libertarianism, and voted with integrity - for his entire career. I can't even imagine what it was like to live in that moral swamp and remain strong enough to put up with being treated like a leper, decade after decade and all the time being pressured by special interests, voting blocks, other congressman, and his own party.

People can disagree with his application of those principles - I disagree in some instances, such as with his take on Iran - but I know that he is wrong on the facts, not on the principles.

Blowback is a fact, not a moral principle. It has been a factor and an honest discussion should be about how much of a factor and whether or not Paul is right about how different middle East-American history would have been if we hadn't been as involved over there. And even if blowback is a major factor, it doesn't mean we base our policy on it the way Paul implies we should. I know I wouldn't agree with Paul 100% but I also wouldn't find myself sharing the position of the Neo-cons. I disagree with Paul on the application of the principles we share. With all the rest, I disagree on the principles (when they aren't too dishonest to even put forth the principles they act from.)

I also disagree with him on abortion. But other than that, I know of no one who has been more consistently on the side of liberty, of small government, and of individual rights. He has been alone on the issue of the Fed, and finally has turned it around enough that his bill to audit the Fed will probably pass.

It seems strange that it is he who is attacked while he surrounded with literally hundreds of slimy crooks, liars, statists, progressives, fools and would-be tyrants. I don't understand why he has to be perfect, while the others get some kind of pass, like, "Oh well, what can you expect, they're just politicians." Try to name even just a few of those 434 other members that actually pay careful attention to the constitution before voting - every single vote!

I think we own him an enormous debt of gratitude for doing more than any political figure alive today for bringing Libertarianism into the main stream, into the presidential debates, into the Republican party and into the halls of congress. And he has been the Thomas Paine of today's college campuses - without him, the awareness of Libertarian principles, and the passion to fight for them would be hard to find among college students - tomorrow's citizens.

Let me put it this way. If even half of the politicians in Washington had the same principles, we would have been living in a truly free country years ago.



Post 12

Saturday, October 6 - 10:45pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

In regard to Post 8, never before has a post made me feel so uncomfortable. I had difficulty reading it.

In regard to being mushy (expressing care), isn't that the great male problem? How do men bond without seeming umm..... fruity?

My Communication 101 professor said that males bond by calling each other names (i.e. Fuck-head and the like). It seemed like I had known that truth all along, yet hadn't been able to identify it as truth. The guys who called each other names seemed to have a close bond with one another.


Also, I sanctioned Steve's post. Ron Paul isn't perfect but he might as well be when compared to the vast majority of politicians.



Post 13

Sunday, October 7 - 9:10amSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

What I tried to convey in post 8 was simply a "thank you" for the praise that you had given me, and also that your being young yet still tired or run-down from your life experiences is very likely not what Martin Seligman refers to as personal, permanent, and pervasive.

Was this a better way to say it?

Ed




Post 14

Sunday, October 7 - 9:54amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

Nope, I prefer the first "Thank you". I understood what you meant.

Now that I have re-read my first sentence:

"In regard to Post 8, never before has a post made me feel so uncomfortable. I had difficulty reading it."

I can see why you thought it was a serious reproach.

Damn this medium, it makes it difficult, at times, to express lightheartedness!



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Post 15

Sunday, October 7 - 4:07pmSanction this postReply
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I completely agree that Ron Paul has remained consistent with his libertarian principles.  No argument from me on that.  Why that's a positive, however, is lost on me.  

 I don't see how resigning individual rights to the several states divorced from Federal oversight is something to get excited about.  I know Paul simply waves questions of returning slavery off as "ridiculous," but is it?  


 




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Sunday, October 7 - 4:24pmSanction this postReply
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Kyle,

Aaaahhhh, so that's what you meant! What strikes me is that even though this online media (asynchronous, nonverbal communication) can be so difficult, we still eventually -- if we try -- get past the barrier and begin to effectively communicate while utilizing it, eventually even moving toward a full understanding of each other. This speaks to how intelligent we are -- that we are so smart and special a creature that we can communicate even if there are barriers in the way.

:-)

Ed




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Sunday, October 7 - 5:42pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa,
I don't see how resigning individual rights to the several states divorced from Federal oversight is something to get excited about. I know Paul simply waves questions of returning slavery off as "ridiculous," but is it?
Yes, returning to slavery is NOT on the table (see Amendments 13, 14 and 15 they explicitly supersede any and all state laws).

Paul grasps that our system for protecting individual rights is the constitutionally limited republic and that means that some of the individual rights are defended by the Federal government and others are defended at the state level. And any right that is defended at the federal level cannot be violated at the state level. And sometimes, depending upon the context, it could be either the state or the federal government that has jurisdiction. For example, if you were threatened with force by a foreign government then the federal government has the jurisdiction. But if the threat comes from a local mugger, then the state has the jurisdiction (or it's enforcement is delegated by the state to a local government - city or county).

The Bill of Rights sorts some of this out, and other determinations have been made over the years by the Supreme court interpreting the constitution.

It could (and should) be made clearer, and more consistent with individual rights as we Objectivists understand them. But the more fundamental concept is that we must be a nation of laws, not the whims of current politicians, and the constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is true that where the constitution needs to be brought more into line with individual rights and ambiguities removed, we need to amend it - not violate it or ignore it.

Our initial problem is that only a handful of representatives pay attention to the constitution. If we were more on top of this as citizens we'd have some kind of non-partisan grading mechanism that showed how each elected official voted relative to the constitution - and a means of impeaching or repealing those with bad grades.

If we had such a grading system, I suspect that only Ron Paul would get an A (maybe an A-) and most of the others would get an F.



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Post 18

Sunday, October 7 - 6:45pmSanction this postReply
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My only problem with that, Steve, is that Paul has already implied he wouldn't protect individual rights under some circumstances in states where they are clearly being violated.   Romney Care in Massachusetts, for example.  He outright said the Federal government "can't stop the states from doing bad things," or something very similar during the debates in '08.  I'll never forget it. What bad things can it stop? Where's the line in his head?  Does he have one? 

And the crazy idea that somehow he could have made a bunch of determined terrorists leave us alone is astonishing and bizarre.  I understand how people would be attracted to his free market politics, but those ideas appear to exist in a vacuum for Paul. They appear seriously detached from anything connected to them on a deeper level. That worries me.




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Sunday, October 7 - 8:34pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa,

Paul does NOT explain things as well as he should. He should say something like this: "What you are talking about will have to be protected at the state level because the way the constitution is written prohibits congress from doing anything at the federal government level - remember, I'm in congress, we shouldn't dictate, and I'm explaining why in this instance the constitution leaves that for states. I hope their legislatures will protect the rights of their citizens in that area."

Paul is right, there are many things, bad things, that states can do and that the federal government does not have the power (enumerated power) to stop. States have constitutions as well and that is where their power must be constrained.

If we make the mistake of allowing all the power to be held by the federal government, instead of balancing it out with a system where the states have power, then we will end up getting a tyranny much quicker. The founders were really wise to create a confederation of the former colonies where the states and the individuals retained all their rights except what was explicitly granted to the federal government. That balance of power has helped enormously but then under Woodrow Wilson a lot of state power was taken away, and the federal government became much more powerful. It is nearly impossible for groups of individuals to effectively organize effectively against a federal government - at least without a bloody revolution. That's why the states should have been left more powerful relative to the federal government.
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Paul does have a line in his mind - and it is the constitution. Without that there is no objective structure, no protection, no standard, and no hope. He also knows that when the 10th amendment is respected, the states will have more power to nullify excessive federal power.
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You wrote, And the crazy idea that somehow he could have made a bunch of determined terrorists leave us alone is astonishing and bizarre."

That isn't what he said or what he meant. He said that if we are putting our military in their country, that they will see us as an enemy and will come after us - and that's what they do. He was just saying that the more we are over there, the more they will focus on attacking us.

That doesn't mean we don't defend ourselves - he has advocated self-defense and he agreed with going into Afghanistan (but not staying there for over a decade) because of 9/11. He did not believe we should have gone into Iraq. He doesn't believe we should have launched the war against Libya. He doesn't believe we should use military means to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons (and that is where I disagree strongly).
------------------

(I don't know what you meant by that last sentence where you talked about his free market ideas being disconnected from anything deeper - you'd need to give me an example on that.)



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