In his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto (ahem), Ron makes what I consider to be a very important distinction between the “Isolationist” and the “NonInterventionist”— a distinction I think his adversaries, and the press, unfairly dismiss.
First off, a word about the Press: I was a political reporter myself for awhile (burned-out, disillusioned– but that’s another story), and I can tell you for a fact that for every smart reporter out there, there’s more than one (let’s not be insulting with quoting an exact figure here, eh?) that does not understand the news that they are covering.
There is no grand conspiracy in the Press, just grand ignorance. I believe this is because, despite the fact that it is perhaps the most crucial component of a democracy (the three official branches of government not long remaining answerable to the people without it), it is by far and away the lowest paid component. I use the word “component,” but really, a free Press is the necessary fourth branch of democratic government. Basically, the really smart people are choosing other fields that are better paying than news reporting (I’m talking real reporting here, not morning show hosts, etc).
Anyway, all that on the Press should be an entirely separate post (or book!), but I’m leading up quickly as I know how to my contention that the Press does, indeed, misrepresent Ron Paul, but out of ignorance not malice.
Where the conspiracy lay (is that the right verb? always get those bloody boogers confused), if you want to call it a conspiracy (really just war strategy), is with Paul’s opponents who successfully release to the Press explanations of Paul’s beliefs, which the Press then dutiful incorporates into their stories— and if it’s like the old days, these incorporations are often reprinted largely word for word.
To compound the problem of misinterpretation, phrases from these fractionally-planted stories are then picked up by even less politically knowledgeable media who are looking for a quick handle by which to swipe a story and place it in today’s grabbag of gossips. These easy phrases and “soundbites” they pick up are then promulgated mercilessly through a content-deficited media, filtering their way down to the bottomfeeders (politically speaking) such as talkshow hosts and, uhm, bloggers.
Holy Toledo—THAT was not supposed to be today’s post. Sometimes doing a blog is like having an argument with your girlfriend over the toothpaste— suddenly you’re not talking about toothpaste at all but you hear yourself bringing up something she did two years ago… I guess some stuff is just sitting there and needs to come up. Like a bad oyster, that.
So, quickly then, the difference, according to Ron Paul, between an Isolationist and a NonInterventionist:
Isolationist: does not want to be involved with the rest of the world; the image perhaps could be one of an ostrich with his head in the sand.
NonInterventionist: Paul says that, as a NonInterventionist: “I favor the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and freedom of travel.” He says that a NonInterventionist just doesn’t think we should be sticking our fingers into other countries’ political pies. Perhaps the image here could be of a swine who is content in his own mud puddle, but who will gladly gamble over to the fence for a proffered carrot.
The NonInterventionist platform might be tidily summed up by the dictum of Thomas Jefferson, whom Paul quotes: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” The NonInterventionist would then be in favor of international commerce and multi-national house parties, but against intruding into the politics or civil wars of other countries. He doesn’t come right out and say it in the book (though he may say it elsewhere?), but I believe Paul would be against a standing military alliance such as NATO.
But my point today is more about wordplay. “Isolationist” is today a bad word— as is, last time I checked, “liberal.” So politicians look for different words like “NonInterventionist” and “progressive” (“it’s not a liberal agenda—it’s a progressive agenda!). One problem for Paul’s crowd is that NonInterventionism doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Paul’s opponents, who have their own agendas (and one must always keep in mind that everybody has an agenda), have explained to the Press, with a pat on the underpaid and too-empty head, that Paul’s view of the world is outdated. Indeed, even Paul admits that “it is easy to dismiss the NonInterventionist view as the quaint aspiration of men who lived in a less complicated world.”
So Paul is portrayed as out-of-touch oddball. But worse, speaking for the sake of the nation here, because of this, his ideas are also dismissed without analysis. And no nation should be too proud to pick up a good idea from where ever it comes from. One can always hold ones nose and use a glove when snatching a pearl from the snout of a swine. … sorry, Mister Paul– unfortunately chosen metaphor :/