The Occupy movement has brought together people from a variety of places along the political spectrum, generally somewhere on the Left. The main exception are Ron Paul followers.
But what is it that attracts Ron Paul followers who, in whatever disjointed fashion, align themselves with the Occupy movement and articulate what is perhaps the most basic Occupy critique: Corporations have far too much power.
Let’s start with the basic libertarian philosophy, which boils down to “government is always bad.” (Ron Paul followers thus would seem to be more at home among tea partiers or the business wing of the Republican Party, where indeed many gravitate.) To put a bit of flesh on the bones, libertarianism can be described as a belief in complete freedom of commerce, of minimal government involvement in the economy or social affairs, and of allowing the “market” to determine economic and social outcomes. An intellectually honest libertarian, then, would be against government laws interfering in adults’ personal lives.
The typical conservative opposes government regulations, but only when it comes to commerce; such beliefs suddenly vanish when it comes to social issues, and thus we have the towering hypocrisy of Republicans thundering against government simultaneous with demands that government control women’s bodies, regulate what happens in the bedroom and decide who can or can’t have a full legal partnership with the person they love.
Representative Paul is not consistent, either — he, too, believes that women are not capable of making decisions about their own bodies and thus opposes abortion. And his belief in ending military adventures overseas is based on old-fashioned isolationism, not on any notion of solidarity or of a common humanity.
It pays to check under the hood.
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