Every now and then Ron Paul will say something — usually about the absurdity of this country’s various wars, particularly the ones on war and terror — and I’ll think, “Heh, that makes so much sense…maybe I like Ron Paul?” But usually, often mere seconds after saying the thing that made me like him for a brief moment in time, he’ll say something so impossibly asinine that it just takes my breath away.
Now, it’s easy in these moments to just dismiss Ron Paul as a misguided fool who never stands a chance to be president, but he does have a considerable following on the web and I’ve seen some of his zaniest ideas gain traction. Anyway, he did this — took my breath away by saying something impossibly asinine — again a few days ago, shortly after announcing that he’d be running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Good Morning America, and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.
In the interview, Paul — a longtime opponent of taxpayer money going to help victims of natural disasters — was asked whether he thought the government should offer help, via FEMA, to victims of the Mississippi River flooding.
“If it’s too dangerous (for people to live there), why dump the responsibility on the taxpayer,” he said.
Now, obviously I’m a little biased, but here’s why this is either the stupidest thing anyone has ever said, or the most insane thing anyone has ever said, or both.
First of all, and I can’t stress this enough, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ABSOLUTE SAFE PLACE TO LIVE. Anywhere. Period. No matter where you are, there’s some sort of destructive natural force looming capable of raping your soul. Earthquakes. Floods. Hurricanes. Landslides. Tornadoes. Volcanoes. I could go on and on. The Gulf Coast region is a nice “well, that’s what they get for living down there” target right now because the area has seen more than its fair share of sh*t of late, but other areas will get theirs soon enough.
But let’s just take what Paul said — that people who choose to live on the Gulf Coast are asking for it by living there — and run with it. I wonder if Ron Paul has ever considered why people live there, and why it’s essential to the well-being of the country that they do? Has he ever considered that maybe there’s opportunity down there, that people can get jobs and feed their families and, in the process, keep the monolithic American commerce machine humming along? Has Ron Paul ever considered why just about every great American city — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, etc. — is situated at, near or around some body of water?
The answer is a simple one: It’s because cities situated at, near and around bodies of water are hubs of commerce and free enterprise, which are things that Ron Paul supposedly loves. They’re hubs of commerce and free enterprise because moving goods via giant ships over water is still to this day the most effective and efficient way to transport massive quantities of goods.
So let’s pretend that we all live in Ron Paul’s little utopia and all of us in America cluster around to live in a “safe” place. Where would that be? Certainly not near a body of water. How would we import things? How would we export them?
You see, if it weren’t for people living on the Gulf Coast, where would America get the bulk of its oil and gas? What about all the food coming in from the Gulf and the Mississippi delta that feeds so many of us. Do all of these things just magically appear in Ron Paul land? Because in the world I live in, the real one, it takes human labor to produce these things for us, and humans need to reside within a reasonable geographic proximity of whatever bounty they produce though labor in order to produce them!
In short, America needs people to live in these “dangerous” places because their doing so is vital to our interests, and we should in turn spend taxpayer money, a resource pool that they contribute to, to help them when they need help. How else are Ron Paul’s constituents in Texas gonna be able to fill their precious SUVs with reasonably priced fuel?
Jesus Christ, Ron Paul is an idiot. I now look forward to Ron Paul’s army of zombies emailing me to tell me why I’m wrong.