It's easy to see why certain conservatives, especially those of a libertarian bent, would like Ron Paul. He's about as true to libertarian doctrine and constitutional originalism as a modern politician can be.
There was a time, 1988 to be precise, where I supported Ron Paul. He was the Libertarian Party candidate for president that year and I voted for him. Like most younger people, I saw a lot less gray in the world than there actually is and what I saw was a guy who was willing to offer more than the squishiness that was on offer from George H. W. Bush.
All these years later, it looks different. Ron Paul is now 75 years old and he comes on like an Old Testament prophet. It's an effective style if you believe what he says, but I think Ann Althouse had it right when she wrote this:
Ron Paul got so angry — usually while spouting pacifism, ironically. Both Gingrich and Paul have a nasty demeanor of a sort that, I think, will never make it to the White House.The notion of an angry pacifist isn't surprising. Most people who hold fast to their ideals tend to get pretty angry when the world fails to live up to their expectations, as it always does. That's what we've been seeing in Wisconsin, especially among the youthful supporters of the corrupt public employee unions, who don't understand the larger implications of what they're supporting. It's easy to construct a narrative about the evil Koch Brothers or somesuch if your primary exposure to the "real world" is being a barista and you spend most of your time at the feet of the academic Left. I sense a lot of Ron Paul supporters, especially the younger ones, think the same way, even though they come to different conclusions about what needs to be done.
At bottom, we do need to deal with the implications of what Ron Paul is talking about. Our nation has been an empire, rather than a republic, for over 100 years now. Empires never last in the long run and there's ample reason to believe we are entering the long run now. We do need to return to first principles. But we kid ourselves if we think it will be easy. We cannot just say "no more wars." We have to realize that if we draw down our empire, someone else will attempt to impose another in its place. And there is little reason to believe that the successor empire will be as benign as ours has been. I don't get the sense that Ron Paul, or some of his supporters, understand that.