“Tell me about the Old Ways, ” Merlin asked…”Mab and Frik spoke of them as if everyone knew what they were, but Merlin had little idea of what the Old Ways involved save having the magical powers to do precisely as one chose….”
“In the old days, we were worshiped,” Mab whispered dreamily, staring down into her cup of wine. “No king ruled save with our consent – and in return, we saw to it that there was no lack. Everywhere there of plenty and contentment….”
But Mab’s stories of a golden age of plenty and contentment only confused Merlin further. If everything had been so wonderful in those days, why had anybody turned away from the Old Ways to follow the New Religion?…
Time passed, and Merlin became more involved in his studies. He reluctantly mastered the Twenty-Seven Basic Incantations for Most Purposes…learned about Atlantis…how to use mandrake root and unicorn horn, about reading palms and reading minds….
“Frik?” Merlin asked one day. “How do you know if you’re living a good life?” “Good?” the gnome asked blankly. “You know,” Merlin prompted. “How do you know if you are doing good? Living the right sort of life and acting with justic and mercy toward everyone?” Frik removed his bifocals and polished them brikly on the tail of his gown. “What does justice have to do with anything?” Frik demanded irritably. “Oh, Master Merlin, I do hope you’re not too attached to those sorts of ideas about good and justice and right. They’re for humans, not for wizards.”
—- Exerpts From “Merlin, The Old Magic”, by James Mallory
For several weeks now, it has been my intent to present a cogent response to ARL contributor M. Ragazzo’s sincere plea to vote one’s conscience and to give Ron Paul his due, and otherwise fair, consideration. As the Iowa caucuses are now rapidly approaching, it is time I got to it.
One benefit of waiting so long, of course, is that a number of candidacies have, by now, either self-imploded or merely withered on the vine. The field has narrowed considerably and, among those lost on the field of battle, it seems likely that our friend M. Raggazo need not fear further “epiglottal episodes” on account of Cowboy Rick. As for several other “promising” and occasional front-runners, notably the Pizza King and the Octomom (more accurately triviginti-mom), it seems that the sunrise has become a cold, distant, and lonely idea.
This leaves, it now seems, for our more serious consideration: the Mormon Ken Doll, the Human Brain, and the Unicorn from Planet Paul. Let’s take them each in turn. I’ll keep this pithy, I swear.
The Mormon Ken Doll: Problem: He’s not really a principled conservative, he simply plays one on TV. Yes, he’s got real world business experience (and good posture and lovely hair). But, he’s from one of the top 3 police states in the union and is well-practiced in the art of pandering with reassuring voice modulation. Should the Mormon issue bother anyone? Maybe, but I’d first like to see his underwear drawer and ask him to explain his feelings on the subject of extraterrestrial sex….but well, you know, just out of idle curiosity, not in the interests of religious persecution.
The Human Brain (AKA “the Puppet Master”): Problem: Yes, his head IS apparently sized proportionally to his intellect, and yet we may be seeing an over-compensation of sorts for the diminutive size of other parts, say of his character, for instance. This is, I’m afraid, a classic “the ends justify the means” sort of guy, and I’m not the only one who thinks that he might well be as progressive as they come. (Step back John McCain, there’s a new rough-rider in town.) The sort of loopy, circular-logic, pragmatism that has become the hallmark calling card of the progressive movement is always and forever sure of its ability to fix each and every human problem…using the just the right recipe, the right technology, the right combination of social engineering programs, the right “magic bullet”. Just give it rest, please. Everyone needs to sleep once in a while and, at some point, you’ve just got to leave people to their own little lives, ugly as they are. We’re not puppets, for God’s sake.
The Unicorn from Planet Paul: OK, here’s the meat of my response to our friend M. Raggazo: So it turns out that, among those crowded around at Arthur’s famous table, Merlin was really the one to keep your eyes on, Lancelot and Guenevere not withstanding. According to some storytellers, its little wonder that Merlin was cooking up potions using the ground and powdered horn of the mythic unicorn, a beast whose death would curse its killer unless he demonstrated an appropriate purity of heart. Some would have it that it was Arthur’s tragic error to have killed the unicorn in a mistaken belief that it would bring luck to the kingdom. In any regard, Merlin’s potion, as we now know, has been an utter disaster. But, here today, we must wonder if these mythic creatures really exist and, perhaps more critically, if they’re really worth all the fuss.
In the case of this particular unicorn, I am particularly concerned with Paul’s lack of nuanced understanding of all things beyond the constitution or the budget, namely foreign policy in general and the middle east in particular. Significantly, he has no demonstrable loyalty to our single best ally in the whole world: Israel. However pure he might be to straight-up libertarian dogma (and he is that, I’d have admit), there may be something lacking in the realm of his critical thinking skills, not to mention maybe his heart.
As such, this unicorn’s horn starts to look a bit like a stage prop ….on an aging war-horse, to be sure. And, practically speaking, it might be worth reiterating my prior qualms about “the purely libertarian case”. To my thinking, it has always been undermined by its hard-core dogma and limited scope. While ostensibly revering the constitution, it nonetheless inevitably eschews the theological underpinnings of natural law. While ardently defending fiscal prudence and sound money, it pretends that the nation’s legitimate interests must stop at the border.
As usual, for me, there is a lot of tasty appeal to the libertarian sandwich, until you start laying in slices of indigestible moral agnosticism. As for Paul, I can’t really explain his failings on Israel (or almost any foreign policy issue) except to suggest that it sometimes does simply come down to dogma. But, here, the mere form (or evolved traditions) of libertarianism is nothing compared to the true essence and defense of liberty itself.
That, after all is supposed to be the whole purpose of our government and, thus, the whole point of this election. Sadly, each candidate that is likely to represent me has missed the point, seeming capable only of telling stories and casting spells.
PS – Today, this update from ZH, which reports that Paul has soared in recent Iowa polling, now within 1% of the lead slot and Romney still well behind in third place. M. Raggazo could get a fair chance in this first round of the shootout.