Tricks the Media Use Against Ron Paul
The Black Swans of Politics
by Justin T. P. Quinn
I remember once arguing with an honest young atheist, who was very much shocked at my disputing some of the assumptions which were absolute sanctities to him (such as the quite unproved proposition of the independence of matter and the quite improbable proposition of its power to originate mind), and he at length fell back upon this question, which he delivered with an honourable heat of defiance and indignation: “Well, can you tell me any man of intellect, great in science or philosophy, who accepted the miraculous?” I said, “With pleasure. Descartes, Dr. Johnson, Newton, Faraday, Newman, Gladstone, Pasteur, Browning, Brunetiere – as many more as you please.” To which that quite admirable and idealistic young man made this astonishing reply – “Oh, but of course they had to say that; they were Christians.” First he challenged me to find a black swan, and then he ruled out all my swans because they were black. The fact that all these great intellects had come to the Christian view was somehow or other a proof either that they were not great intellects or that they had not really come to that view. The argument thus stood in a charmingly convenient form: “All men that count have come to my conclusion; for if they come to your conclusion they do not count.”
~ G. K. Chesterton
A recent article titled “Ron Paul’s dilemma” makes the case that “Ron Paul may be in the ultimate damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation as next month’s Ames Straw Poll draws closer.”
If Paul polls fourth or fifth at Ames, it will feed the existing narrative that he is a second-tier candidate with a devoted but small legion of fans. Ames will be, at best, a wash. If, on the other hand, Paul finishes first or second, it will feed the narrative that he’s a straw-poll paper tiger with a small but devoted legion of fans that swamped Ames from around the country. The media will give itself permission to ignore the result and instead focus on the “serious” candidates.
Rasmussen makes the unfortunate factual error of stating that Ron’s “legion of fans” could “swamp Ames from around the country.” The Ames Straw Poll is only open to Iowa residents. A simple Google search could have prevented that mistake and allowed him to reword it differently, though at the expense of weakening his argument. A victory in Ames would not mean that Ron Paul is backed by a small group of fanatics that crawled out of the woodwork, but that he has strong core of support within the key state of Iowa. Let us ignore that fact for now.
Instead, lets focus on the substance of Rasmussen’s opinion: The Ames Straw Poll is very important, but only if Ron Paul doesn’t win. It doesn’t matter whether or not Ron wins, or even how many percentage points he wins by. The Iowa Straw Poll can help every other candidate, but it can only hurt Ron Paul. The voters at Ames can have no bearing whatsoever on Ron Paul’s viability as a candidate. A vote for Ron Paul ipso facto makes it irrelevant.
You see, Ron Paul supporters don’t count, even though they are the paragon of what the ideal political activist would be. They are arguably the only true grassroots activists in existence right now. They don’t wait for direction or leadership from Ron Paul himself. Rather, inspired by Paul’s ideals, they act on their own. Nothing else in history comes close to what they’ve accomplished.