The Constitution and the coot

Ron Paul isn’t insane, of course. His views on sound money and central banking, and even his narrow interpretation of the national-defense interests, are principled — and not novel — conservative positions. You and I may not agree with them — I do, mostly, up to the part about allowing Iran to bomb Israel — but on the crackpot scale of 1 to Lyndon LaRouche, they’re barely a 3. And if we’re all really honest about it, the sainted Abraham Lincoln did, in fact, violate the Constitution on several occasions. And over a few beers, say, among friends, these are interesting and diverting topics of conversation.

But like all of those kinds of conversations, they always end up the same way. The conversation winds along interesting abstractions and what-ifs, and then someone — usually the old guy at the end of the bar — says something truly out-there — “There’s no constitutional reason, for instance, why the children of illegal immigrants cannot be eaten” — and then the conversation devolves into weird irrational tributaries, and everyone moves on to something else, but you always have the feeling that one guy — usually the old guy at the end of the bar — really meant it.

In other words, there’s Ron Paul, and there’s the Ron Paul newsletters, and you cannot have one without the other. One, in fact, leads inexorably to the other. First you start talking about sane, grounded stuff — sound money; harmful central banking — and then, eventually, you start suggesting how it might have been the Israeli Mossad that bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, or how the AIDS virus is quite possibly a product of secret government research gone awry.