Last Tuesday, Ron Paul announced he has formed an exploratory committee to decide whether or not to run for president. Now I have a reason to sit through the painfully laborious Republican debates. The only event that rivals the levels of irrelevance and philosophical vacuity is, of course, the Democratic debates.
With Paul effectively in the mix, we will be treated to a night of neo- and
Christian conservatives rejecting the Old Right, Goldwater wing of the Republican Party — the only wing, incidentally, that will hold any relevance in the foreseeable future.
This might produce the revelation that conservatives have long ago rejected individual liberty and limited government in favor of an overwhelming demand for power — not that they will ever stop using classical liberal rhetoric, of course.
Instead of the liberal vision of an expansive state, they will champion the conservative vision of an expansive state.
Paul (in his third presidential campaign, counting his 1988 Libertarian Party attempt) will provide a palpable contrast to the duopoly that is the two-party system. However, do not interpret this as an endorsement for Ron Paul.
I couldn’t care less if you vote for him. Any fantasy of Paul becoming president will be crushed by reality, though the education he provides throughout his campaigning is incredibly valuable.
In fact, not only do I urge everyone to abstain from voting for Paul, but also I urge — nay, implore — everyone to abstain from voting in toto. As for anyone who desires to instigate social change through voting, I encourage you to entirely re-examine how societal change occurs at all.
Voting is useless. Actually, that is misleading: Voting is not only useless but also absolutely harmful.
By marking a box (or however it is done, I have never been in a voting booth, nor do I desire to be. It could only damage my morality), the vote allows an individual to ignore and neglect any responsibility and duty to their community.
Approving a school levy does not improve intelligence. Only engaging students outside the classroom and providing a robust and diverse environment to acquire intelligence educates.
Schooling and educating are not synonyms. But I digress.
Responsibility and societal duty requires active engagement in improving a community; a ritual electing an individual to power every four years is not civic engagement, no matter what your high school teacher repeated.
If societal improvement is the goal, examining the accepted means to this end (voting) is necessitated. Part of the reason why a dearth of change exists among presidential administrations is that many individuals return to personal engagements, presuming their job is done. We have a Democrat in office after eight years of a Republican: Problem solved.
The president is not a superhero, nor is it desirable to forfeit superhero powers to the position.
A lone individual, taking a Saturday to clean up a local park, improves society more than a president ever has or ever will.
Elected officials are only figureheads — and shabby ones at that. They represent prevailing societal opinion on how a country should act or think.
Presidents do not create reformers; reformers create presidents.
As election season looms like a boulder over a peaceful town, try to avoid the pull of politics. Do not buy a bumper sticker, no matter how much the color complements your (already crowded) car.
Be productive and increase your wealth.
Hug a tree.
Most importantly, develop your talents as an individual and benefit your community in that way.
If Ron Paul’s campaign will teach us anything, it is this: Education, not political office, is the only useful result of running a campaign, whether anyone votes or not.
Anthony Hennen is a junior studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. If you think Anthony is ruining the reason for democracy, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.