By Doug Newman
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And if you would like to post this elsewhere, please just link to this URL, as I frequently updated my articles.
(WARNING: GRAPHIC, BUT NOT GRATUITOUS, IMAGES. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IN WAR!)
Denver talk host David Sirota wrote a very fine essay this week on Ron Paul’s appeal among voters aged 18 to 29. Contrary to common belief, this popularity is not simply a matter of their wanting to burn hippie lettuce.* Rather, Sirota says, it is that they have a principled stance against America’s endless wars.
I want to approach this question from a different angle: how one’s life experience often profoundly influences one’s worldview. There are three major cultural reasons for Ron Paul’s appeal to younger voters.
1) They are on the internet more intensively than anyone else. Indeed, if you are 18, you may very well not remember life without the internet.
When I was 18, in 1979, we got our news from the three major networks, newspapers and news magazines. No we were not in the Soviet Union where the flow of information was controlled by TASS, Pravda and Izvestia. However, our news options were relatively quite limited. Cable TV hadn’t gained a footing yet. The Fairness Doctrine governed radio, so talk radio was a non-factor.
Along came the internet in the 1995-96 time frame. Now, anyone anywhere of even modest financial means could broadcast their message worldwide. Our news and information options suddenly became infinite. This is the world in which the majority of the group Sirota describes has come of age. This is how they get their information. And it absolutely tortures control freaks!
2) They know they have gotten a raw economic deal.
On the front end of things, more people than ever are questioning the value of a traditional college education. In 1965, tuition at Yale and Princeton was $1950 per year. In 2011, it is roughly $40,000. In-state tuition at Black Hills State University is now $7400. Higher education may very well constitute another bubble waiting to burst.
Not only has college become way more expensive – largely due to federal involvement – but jobs for new graduates are scarcer than ever. And the total amount of outstanding student loan debt has surpassed that of outstanding credit card debt.
On the back end, most young adults know that they will never see a dime of Social Security or Medicare. Current unfunded liabilities of the federal government stand at over $116 trillion. If you can’t comprehend that number, don’t worry. Neither can many astrophysicists.
It is this generation that will foot the bill for the financial damage that the current political and paper-money financial establishments hath wrought.
3) They are of military age.
Sirota goes into great detail about their thoughts on war and foreign policy. Let me drill down here. Might these thoughts just stem from the fact that, more than anyone, they, their friends and classmates have spilled their blood in endless wars that are being sold to them by politicians and media hacks who have never served a day in the military?
It is easy to talk about “war”, “country”, “flag” and “patriotism”. It is quite another to pay for these things in the coin of your own blood.
It is quite another to have before-and-after photos like those of Marine Sergeant Tyler Ziegel of Metamora, Illinois.
Or to have before-and-after photos like those of Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard of New Portland, Maine.
Or to go off to war young, healthy, energetic and idealistic and to come home like this.
I resent it when people purport to speak for me. Hence, I almost never want to speak for someone else. However, it is one thing to wage war, finance war, and promote war and to get all weepy-eyed whenever you hear Lee Greenwood sing and to gawk at Fox News as if it were the Playboy Channel. It is quite another to experience war firsthand or to know someone who has.
Is it any surprise that Ron Paul receives more campaign contributions from active duty military than all other presidential candidates combined? He is the only candidate who realizes that war is not just a video game, but a true life-and-death experience. He is the only candidate who will not use you or your kids as meat on the hoof for endless wars based on endless lies.
Is it any surprise that Ron Paul is so popular among young voters? I repeat my thesis: one’s life experiences have profound effects on one’s worldview. Ron Paul’s message and philosophy have enormous practical appeal to those who are coming into adulthood at this point in American history.
* Ron Paul supports your Ninth Amendment right to burn hippie lettuce. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, supports interrupting your life if you are caught ingesting things he doesn’t want you to ingest. Governments have done infinitely more to destroy civilization than plants and their extracts ever have.
When you let people do whatever they want, you run the risk of Woodstock. When you let governments do whatever they want, you run the risk of Auschwitz. Any questions?
If you would like to post this elsewhere, please email me and include a link to this URL. Thanks! – dfn
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What you say about the military is my primary reason for supporting Ron Paul.
If Ron Paul became president, I would actually consider joining the military, because I could be certain that if Ron Paul put my life on the line, there would be a damned good reason for it, one that he would put his own life on the line for. Ron Paul is the only major candidate who understands the horrors for war, the finality of death, and the humanity of our brave men and women in the military. To Ron Paul, a life is worth a thousand times what it is to these other candidates.
And it frustrates me to no end that his compassion and restraint in this regard is characterized by the media and other politicians as “isolationism”. It is the most egregious mis-characterization of a politician’s stance that I have ever seen. Supporting diplomacy and respect over death and destruction isn’t isolationism, it’s the path to a better and more peaceful future for everyone.
So count me among the young people who support Ron Paul foremost for his foreign policy.
Great post, but you might want to take some time to change the site a little? Stock WP header photo? Looks like you just made the site today and slapped your blog up. I will repost, but to be taken more seriously invest some time into the aesthetics of your site.
I know the graphics are not the greatest. They need work.
However, as I cannot really even justify the time I devote to writing this blog, the graphics are even further down the list.
I have actually had several positive comments from people about the stock photo. Purely my opinion: it is peaceful and relaxing whereas much of the content of my blog articles is neither peaceful nor relaxing.
Keep writing, OK? You make good points.
Something also that I just realized after re-reading your post is your use of the term “hippy lettuce”. Some people out there actually have legitimate reasons for using MARIJUANA. Using “hippy lettuce” to describe a plant that helps so many people out there with their daily lives diminishes our cause. Just as you are trying to be sensitive about politician’s views on young American’s lives, be sensitive to those that either need marijuana or feel that it should be their choice whether they consume a substance that has been found to have medicinal properties as well as intoxicating properties.
I apologize if I offended. I guess I was trying to have fun when I shouldn’t have.
I believe in full legalization of marijuana.
All federal laws regulating what people voluntarily ingest into their bodies are unconstitutional under the 9th and 10th Amendments. State laws regulating these things are just as repulsive as state laws mandating racial segregation in the old South.
Again, I apologize.
I apologize again: I misspelled your name. 😦
Oh wow – I am so glad to have found your blog! I too am Christian and Libertarian (about 6 years older than you), and find that it is my Christian, right-wing, conservative, baby boomer friends who are the most resistant to Ron Paul’s message. At first I was baffled, but have reached the conclusion that they have really been deceived into thinking these wars have something to do with righteousness & national defense.
Anyway, I would like to share this one on Facebook. Have lots of young, liberal, (too) open-minded friends who have not swallowed the Republicrat kool-aid.
Jacque in Fort Collins
Go ahead and share Jacque.
I sent a friend request.
Be in touch.
Doug down the road in Aurora.
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What an excellent article about the rise of liberty-centered politics among our young people and its’ implications for the future. Thank you, Doug Newman. Keep up the good work. This article is on target. You may also be interested in http://cvrp2012.com/2012/02/03/muslim-brotherhood-infiltrated-paulistinians/ (Combat Veterans for Ron Paul)
Thanks for the article. I was in the USNR when Bush attacked Iraq the first time. We were on 24 hour standby with seabags packed, eyes glued to CNN. I was a housewife who joined for the education benefits mainly, aside from patriotism. I was shocked and awed, that we would do such a stupid war and try to justify it. Most of us decided the truth was that Iraq didn’t want to play ball with the New World Order. Then, what did Bush say in a speech? “The New World Order” just like we figured, that was the aim, and all the fighting overseas and security measures here is about molding the gullible and malleable world and US with it’s fist. It comes as an open hand but closes around you until it is a fist squeezing the life out of you.