And now for a lighter moment from last night’s debate, or at least the weirdest moment. Jim Hoft calls this Ron Paul’s Checkpoint Charlie moment, but it’s really more like an apex of Paul’s paranoid band of libertarianism. In this exchange, Paul opposes building a border fence because he doesn’t believe it represents American values, which is a fair enough argument that one usually hears from Democrats. He then tips over into hilarity when he suggests that the US government might use it to stop Americans from fleeing to, er, Mexico:
I immediately noted on Twitter on hearing this that it was my first laugh-out-loud moment of the debate, which got an angry response from a couple of Ronulans. (Is there any other kind?) One told me to ask the people of the former Soviet Union and East Germany about how ridiculous that might be. Well, it may come as a shock to Ron Paul and his followers, but the Iron Curtain wasn’t what made the Soviet Union a totalitarian state (and it wasn’t literally a wall anyway), nor the Berlin Wall for East Germany. The latter had to build the wall in Berlin to keep people from escaping its police state, which existed before the wall was built or even contemplated. Anyone who doesn’t understand the difference doesn’t belong in any serious political debate.
Besides, I’m pretty sure that we’re not running a great risk of capital flight to Mexico at the moment. Our southern neighbor is teetering on the precipice of becoming a failed state, kidnappings are an epidemic, cartels run entire swaths of the country, and the political environment sounds somewhat like the lyrics to “All She Wants to Do is Dance.” Even if an eventual US government closed the border to keep Americans in, we have a wide-open border on the north and two oceans on either side. Americans would like Canadians and swimming a lot better than taking their chances with the drug cartels. And if we were ever in a position where Americans wanted to escape to Mexico, then a border fence would almost literally be the least of our problems.