To my great displeasure and I’m sure yours, my political career (as a Ron Paul blogger) is over, having lasted exactly one month. I shall now retreat back into the world of art, and leave the decisions about war and geopolitics to the powers that be.
Why am I throwing in the towel, you ask?
It now seems almost certain that Ron Paul will not be getting the Republican nomination. And unless he decides to run as an Independent, it looks as if we are faced with some very grim choices.
So is there anyone to whom we can turn? Here, friends, is the rub.
John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are surely the craziest warmongers of the bunch, so voting for either of them is surely out of the question. Yet Mrs. Clinton, unfortunately, doesn't offer much of an alternative – in fact, she's already insinuating that we should intervene militarily in Pakistan.
And Barack Obama's only virtue is that he wasn't present in the Senate for the Iraq War vote. But when it comes down to it, he'll most certainly go along with the rank-and-file on issues of war and intervention.
On a personal note, though, I'm somewhat relieved that the Ron Paul campaign has petered out. I was becoming too frenzied, too optimistic, too populist. Great empires, I realize now, are not so easily dismantled, and nor is their course so easily altered.
Rather, they are buttressed not only by the state but by the whole of civil society— newspapers, radio, television, academia, industry, and the public at large. Just last week, for example, the NY Times appointed as its chief Op-Ed page columnist the Iraq War evangelist, William Kristol. Institutions like these do not fall at the first pestering from a populist contrarian such as Ron Paul.
We must remember that empires are not— contrary to popular belief— created and maintained by government-hijacking cabals or gangs of international profiteers. They are conceived, built, and fueled by the collective imagination of the whole. And as both the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush and yesterday’s New Hampshire primary show, the notion of America-as-the-new-Rome has the majority support of a public that has christened it in its name.
Most empires of the past had to go through traumatic and prolonged fits of violence or economic collapse before returning to their pre-imperial phase state. It would have been nice, however, to dismantle this American one peaceably, civilly, and willfully, rather than having to experience all the nastiness that usually accompanies such a crumbling.
So now it is time again for me retreat to my little hill-side hermitage, from which I can watch from a safe distance the world unravel, and comfort myself only with the thought that it has always been unraveling.