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True Believers

Reading the comment section of a recent post by Glenn Greenwald (very much worth reading), it appears that the latest deification has switched from Obama to Ron Paul, which led to this comment by yours truly:

I get that people love Paul and even why, but there seems to be a dangerously naive amount of trust here, in the same way there was for Obama. Paul is a politician, not the messiah, and if you look at him as anything less than a profoundly flawed human being, who like all candidates, you should support only with serious reservations, then I think you need some interspection.

This isn’t particular to Paul – like some sort of twisted “serial monogamy” we move from candidate to candidate deluding ourselves that “this time” we’ve found the perfect one. This one will be honest and real and not let us down – but they all do. In fact I would argue we have set up the system for failure – anyone who can seemingly live up to the perfection we demand of our presidents, will have to be a fake, because no one who’s real could live up to our twisted demands. Our vetting process essentially filters for sociapths and other inhuman freaks.

Anyway, even if Paul by chance is “the one”, a healthy dose of cynicism is useful to keep you eyes open and ensure your leader of choice stays on the straight and narrow. After all, the worst transgressions in history have been enabled time and time again by the self-deluded blindness of “true believers”.

Seriously, I believe we (and I have been guilty too) are really looking for a new messiah or the next “King Arthur” or something. Not only are these fantasies (at least in human figures), but it necessarily diminishes the import of our role (the body politic) in framing the future. Yes, a good leader can be a catalyst for change, but in the end it is “we the people” who really make that change happen.

Given our independent “rags to riches” Galtian mentality, it’s not surprising we’re looking for non-existent superheroes while diminishing the importance of the collective (“individualism” is as American as “apple pie” after all). However we miss something in this, by making some into heroes while the rest of us remain their pliant lieges (or “parasites” as Ayn Rand would call us), we effectively form a different sort of non-individualist collective: that as the role of “sheep”.


Here’s a comment made to an NYT op-ed about Ron Paul:

[blah, blah, blah – good stuff about Ron Paul] … The difference with Ron Paul vs the other candidates Obama included is he will ACTUALLY do it. The others will simply nip around the edges. That is not what we need now, we need a serious plan we need Ron Paul.

So obviously I edited the supposed “good stuff” out here, but the author of this comment, and I see a lot like this one, absolutely and uncategorically believes Paul “will actually do” what he says. There is no credulity.

If Paul isn’t scary, certainly his followers who seem to live in a world of absolute certainty, are.

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