30 November 2011

Youth For Ron Paul

The laziest way to explain the counterintuitive phenomenon of youth rallying around the GOP’s oldest candidate is to insist that it’s about kids’ silly college fling with unrealistic libertarianism or that it’s about kids’ affinity for drug use — and more specifically, Paul’s support for legislation that would let states legalize marijuana. This degrading mythology ignores the possibility that young people support Paul’s libertarianism for its overall critique of our government’s civil liberties transgressions (transgressions, by the way, now being openly waged against young people), nor does the narrative address the possibility that young people support Paul’s drug stance not because they want to smoke weed, but because they see the War on Drugs as a colossal waste of resources. Instead, Paul is presented as merely a fringe protest candidate, and the young people who support him are depicted as just dumb idealists, hedonistic pot smokers or both.
One problem with this fantastical tale, of course, is that it insults the intelligence and motivation of young voters. But another, even more troubling facet of this tale is how it uses speculative apocrypha and stereotyping about ideology and drugs to suppress concrete social survey data about the far-more-likely foreign policy motivations of young Ron Paul supporters.

As a twenty-something college student who is more than capable of projecting his motivations onto others in my general age range while also possessing a healthy dose of presumptive arrogance, I can say with authority that my age group’s support of Ron Paul is primarily based on his foreign and economic policies.  I don’t particularly care about drug legalization, since I don’t use drugs (or drink or smoke, for that matter), although I do support it on philosophical grounds.  I do, however, care about being sold into slavery, which is what the current Washington policies are basically going to do to me.

See, wars are expensive, particularly when you wage in the manner the federal government has for the last decade or so.  And tax revenue has been insufficient to cover the cost of war and domestic spending simultaneously for the last decade or so.  The solution to the past ten years’ worth of budget deficits has been, surprisingly, federal debt.  My generation is going to be on the hook for this, no matter how you slice it, so we obviously have a very strong incentive to cut spending.  One relatively easy way to do this is to simply bring every last soldier home, close every last military base, minimize or eliminate future foreign entanglements, and cut down the size of the military.

Now, this won’t eliminate future deficits, but it should reduce them considerably.  And Ron Paul has a plan to cut spending even further, possibly eliminating deficits in their entirety.  Since my generation is on the hook for the current level of federal debt, you better believe that we’re going to support a candidate that seriously plans to minimize our obligations.

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