It's hard to tell if the idea that Ron Paul cannot win in 2012 is more ignorant, in its complete lack of historical sophistication, or more arrogant, in its claim to certainty amid all the complexity of 300 million lives and the myriad issues that affect them.Read the rest here.
Sometimes, perhaps once in a few generations, a nation can undergo what a mathematician or physicist would call a "phase change." The classic example of such a thing is a pile of sand. Every grain you add makes the pile slightly steeper and slightly higher without moving any of the other grains inside the pile, until eventually one grain is added that causes an avalanche of sand down the sides of the pile, moving thousand of grains and changing the shape of the pile.
Such behavior can be exhibited by all complex systems, and a nation -- it should be obvious -- is much more complex than a pile of sand.
The important point for those who would presume to make such grand predictions as "Dr. Paul cannot win" is that no examination of the pile of sand before the point of avalanche would tell you that, or when, the avalanche will eventually happen.
But happen it does; indeed, happen it must.
And there are numerous examples of abrupt and dramatic phase change in the politics of great nations.
Dr. Paul is not going to win the general election this year (though I will be voting for him). We need to view this as a long term struggle that is going to take years, and maybe decades. In that sense Ron Paul can indeed win. I see him as possibly the most politically significant person in the history of the GOP, and arguably the country, since Ronald Reagan. This year is just a small step.
Tampa and what goes down there will be important, but it won't be the end of the story. There are going to be a lot of battles ahead and some will be lost. But the long term goal of restoring a constitutional government founded on the ideal of the maximum amount of personal liberty that is compatible with an orderly society is not one that is going away.
To my mind one of the biggest obstacles is going to be the armchair libertarians who are long on ideological purity but short on the willingness to actually get their hands dirty in the real world of politics and governing. The very idea of governing is in some ways almost revolting to some of the more extreme anarcho-libertarians. But we need to enter the ring and make the case to the electorate. And sometimes we will need to cut deals with people whose views we vehemently disagree with in order to advance the cause.
The most effective presidents of the last half century were Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson. Ideologically they were polar opposites. But they were great deal makers who understood that nothing ever gets done in a "my way or the highway" environment. Both of these men kept their eyes on the forest and not the trees and were willing to make tactical concessions to advance their strategic goals.
We need a libertarian Lyndon Johnson. My guess is that he will be somewhere in the next generation of leaders.