I’ve had an epiphany of sorts regarding Ron Paul, or you might say a couple pieces of the story have come together for me. It was provoked by a humorous characterization made by Gail Collins in an op-ed for the NY Times during the New Hampshire primary. She described Paul’s activist supporters as “slightly abrasive young men with high IQ’s who wear hunting caps with ear-flaps.” Classic Gail, of course. But I’ve noticed how (along with homophobes, white supremacists, anti-Semites, survivalist militiamen, and various conspiracy theory kooks) many Paul enthusiasts are college boys, and there’s a serious subtext here, I think.
If you had lived in New Hampshire during the primary campaign you would have heard several times a day that our mortal enemy is the government in Washington, with its huge budget deficit, taxes, business regulations, minimum wage, unemployment compensation, education grants, programs like Head Start, food stamps, and everything else that has improved the lives of Americans since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. For Ron Paul, all of these programs violate the Constitution. In other words, if we stopped aiding people unable to pay their heating bills this winter, we’d be on our way to restoring our greatness as a nation.”
Numerous scientific studies have shown that the higher instincts of human sympathy, empathy and fellow-feeling are the very last thing to develop in the adolescent brain, generally not fully manifest in most young people until the early to mid-20’s. I would go a step further to suggest (without scientific evidence to back up this opinion) that young men are even slower to develop these attributes than young women.
Moreover, very few college boys know the first thing about tough times, feeding a family, paying the bills, keeping a roof over one’s head, or for that matter coming home from Afghanistan with one or more missing limbs, now do they?
It all ties together, doesn’t it? It occurs to me that “Let ‘em die!” sounds like something you’d hear a bunch of drunken, brutish, self-centered frat boys chant at a hazing ritual gone bad.
I’m reminded how, when the Penn State pederasty scandal broke, there was NO sympathy or moral indignation on behalf of the victims expressed whatsoever by any PSU male students, who evidently feel that football games and tailgate parties are more important than institutional complicity in the sexual abuse of young boys, voicing only anger at Joe Paterno’s firing followed by destructive hooliganism in town.
It’s enough to make me want to see the voting age raised to 30.