If Ron Paul was running for President in 1970′s, I could see myself among the other long haired, die-hard supporters he now attracts. I was a long haired freedom lover bucking the establishment my self. And a Virginia Commonwealth University student. And VCU was part and parcel of the far left movement even in those days.
I spent a lot of time in the Fan District Night Clubs, listening to and playing the hard core rock popular in that time period.
And there were drugs. Everywhere.
And I would have been an ardent Ron Paul supporter because his ideas of personal freedom and liberty would have resonated with my young mind in a way that may have been hard for me to resist.
In the process of trying to put together rock bands that could actually play great music and make money, I found that the more talented the musician, the more likely they were to let drugs take over their lives. One of the more promising assemblies of talent I had ever been a part of actually scared the hell out of me. A couple of the guys, one perhaps the most talented lead guitarist I have ever met and the other a bass player so far ahead of the musical times that it was unbelievable, had a nasty habit of pulling out a syringe and crushing up almost anything, placing it in a spoon, mixing with water (or beer) and heating it up to mix it before injecting it in their veins. And it never failed to really freak me out.
And shortly afterwards, the music turned to crap until they crashed and slept it off.
It didn’t take long before I realized that no amount of talent and no amount of desire to create a successful band could overcome the drugs.
And, no. I never joined my mainlining friends in the habit. In fact, because of that image I never picked up so much as a beer when I played guitar. It really makes the fingers stupid and I was a serious musician.
I heard a few years later that the bass player was shot and killed, probably drug related and the amazing lead guitar player died of an overdose. My instinct to part ways with these dudes was the right move.
This is the free exercise of personal liberty and freedom taken to the limits and beyond.
What kept me from using the same dirty needle my friends did and finding the same fate they did?
God. Plain and simple.
Prior to the corruptible influences at VCU and the new freedom I had turning 18, I planned to go into the Ministry.
Well, that didn’t work out but the influences of my youth spent hanging out with church youth groups set my life on a course that was not always righteous, but I always knew where the “do not cross” line was. I might put my toes on the line at times, but I never crossed it. I simply couldn’t. And no amount of influence was ever able to push me over that line.
Much of that was my morality, but a lot of that was respect for the law. I dare say that if drugs were legal then, I may have been able to justify moving that line I never dared to cross a bit further into the darkness.
Just how far I can’t really say. But probably not that far.
But I would have supported legalizing drugs because I believed in personal freedom. But I also knew that, for me, that personal freedom would always have moral limits that would keep me safe, or reasonably so.
But what of the people without these internal safety switches? Today’s youth have grown up in a largely secular environment where the lines are either blurred or non-existent. For them, only the law serves as a barrier to keep them from jumping over the cliff. If we allow Ron Paul to remove the only remaining barrier in our secular society where only the law serves to limit personal disaster, where does that leave us as a society?
I am confident that I could now handle the freedoms and liberty espoused by Paul. I am also confident that my colleague, co-blogger and friend Sandy Sanders, a vocal Ron Paul supporter, has the moral compass required to responsible accept these freedoms. Sandy is a strong Christian and will never need any restraints to do what is right.
I do not worry about myself, my family, Sandy or many of my friends. They are perfectly capable of dealing with true liberty and having such freedoms will actually enhance their lives.
But most of today’s youth, and a lot of older folks, are simply not capable of knowing how far to go. I dare say that most of Ron Paul’s youthful supporters will not survive the freedoms they so fervently support. And those who do manage to survive will, unfortunately, become a burden on society and actually infringe on my personal freedom – especially financially – as they would find themselves unemployable and in need of a lot of medical care.
If we lived in a society where we could have personal freedom to do whatever we wished and the only consequences were to yourself, Ron Paul would make a great president – foreign policy not withstanding. But, unfortunately, we simply cannot stand by and watch someone die of an overdose or allow an uninsured accident victim to bleed to death without calling an ambulance.
And when we have to care for these irresponsible individuals and pay for their care and provide food and shelter when their “personal freedom” takes them on a course of self destruction and leaves them jobless and homeless, our personal freedoms are impacted in a negative way.
In a third world country, you will not find much sympathy for someone who refuses to work, abuses substances and self-destructs. The reality and the culture allows them to simply step over such an individual and burn or bury the body when their “personal freedom” is taken to these extremes and ultimately causes death.
The argument is that these people are not asking for help and it is our choice to help them. But to not help them would be to deny my freedom to be a compassionate Human Being. And they know this! And count on it.
And in most cases, our tax dollars support those who will not help themselves whether we like it or not. We do not have the option to walk away from the disastrous results of freedom abused.
So, under a Ron Paul Administration, the freedoms that the Paul supporters support so strongly, will actually serve to make the responsible members of society less free. Not by choice, but by virtue of the evolution of our society. We are no longer free morally or legally to allow someone to destroy their lives without a great deal of assistance from the public.
Now if these derelicts to be would agree to tattoo their foreheads with a symbol, perhaps D.N.R. and Ron Paul would push through legislation to mandate that these individuals receive no medical, food, shelter or financial assistance because they want to be truly free to enjoy life, a Paul presidency might actually be viable.
But there’s that damned mandate thing again.