Thursday, January 07, 2010
Measuring a politician or political movement by the comments left by their followers on a message board is a bit unfair, but I do find it telling what topics get discussed at length by the faithful in any alliance. The comments posted on a forum are by no means representative of the movement as a whole, yet they illuminate the group’s priorities and worldview.
The Ron Paul Forums are a perfect example. In a post titled the “Ultimate putin interview!”, forum members lavish Russia’s Putin with praise for his “wisdom and clarity” and for being “against the NOW.” One member even asks if “when his term is up, maybe he can come over here and run for office?”
Yes, what I have done is selective and unfair to Dr. Paul, but there is a reason forums and websites built to further the movement around him routinely fuel this kind of nonsense. Just scanning through the forum’s topics, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that New World Order conspiracies and Israel hatred are the topics tackled habitually. Adam Holland has done an excellent job covering Michael Scheuer’s (who was Paul’s chief foreign policy adviser) recent media appearances, and the nutty conspiratorial things he has been professing. Scheuer’s consistent use of conspiracy burdened rhetoric cornering Zionists and secret elites who dictate American foreign policy is already beyond the pale of reasonable political scrutiny, and this man was the one in charge of Paul’s foreign policy program! It is hardly surprising that Paul’s followers would take this nonsense to a more elevated level.
As I mentioned in a previous post on Paul, some conservatives have trumpeted 2009 as the year Paul and his ideas went mainstream. I am sad to say that I would have to agree with their assessment. I believe the movement that surrounds the man is a perilous one however, and the fact that his forum often mirrors the topical themes addressed at Stormfront should give pause to libertarians who may be sympathetic to Paul’s anti-government position.