Friday, 8 February 2008

The answer is... Forty-Two!

If you know the story of The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and if you've seen how many Ron Paul delegates there are at present, you'll know exactly what I'm on about. "Forty-Two?!?! Is that all you've got to show for..."

No, that's all Ron Paul's supporters have to show for their efforts so far in terms of numbers of delegates to the RNC. I think we can safely assume that it represents forty-two more delegates than Dr. Paul once thought he'd get.

Can Dr. Paul spread the ideas of liberty further in this campaign? Yes, and he will keep doing so as long as American voters and corporations keep financing his campaign, and supply the precinct leaders to drum up grass-roots support.

We can also safely assume that Mitt Romney's supporters will not willingly transfer their allegiance to John "100 years" McCain anytime soon - or to his would-be VP Mike Huckabee.

Romney's supporters have two choices - give up and go home, leaving the Republican Party in the hands of the free-spending neo-conservatives (and, in all probability, the White House in the hands of Billary) - or support Dr. Paul. Given that a good number of delegates are also officially uncommitted, I'd say that leaves plenty of scope for Dr. Paul to rain heavily on any attempted McCain coronation at the National Convention.

Furthermore, even Dr. Paul would agree that he and his supporters are in for a long haul. Fortunately, intellectual and emotional battles are like violent ones in this respect: the R3volutionaries need only keep turning up for the fight, and let their opponents discredit themselves by their increasingly desperate, heavy-handed responses. The more intolerably dictatorial the counter-r3volutionaries become, the more credible Ron Paul's message will seem - because it will become by default the only remaining alternative to tyranny.

But what can we do to enhance the prospects for liberty here in the UK? I suggest we do exactly what we're doing now. Adopt a wide variety of apparently uncoordinated approaches to promote the related causes of life, liberty and private property. To the untutored eye, this looks like a suicidal waste of resources, but consider the following.

Some - perhaps most - of these efforts will falter due to lack of financial and/or popular support. But by simultaneously exploring as many alternative routes to success as possible, we will avoid the greatest weakness of our centralizing opponents - we will not turn our cause into a one-trick pony. And the diffuse nature of our efforts will also make us harder to beat.

This is one of the biggest reasons why, in economic terms, capitalist solutions are ultimately more varied and more affordable than socialist ones. It's also one of the most important lessons the free market has to offer its political champions. The quicker we learn this lesson, the cheaper we'll learn it, and the sooner we'll all be free - or at least more free than we are now.

- Houseman

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