• Image by Jessica Wentzel

Ron Paul, a 12-term congressman from Texas, is attracting an intense and dedicated cadre of voters in the 2012 primary election season. But, to date, at least, their numbers suggest he is not a viable presidential candidate. The lack of a large-enough following to get even the chance to face President Obama in November has prompted national pundits to speculate on other goals Paul may be pursuing, such as landing a speaking role at this year’s Republican National Convention.

Such notions strike a group of five local Ron Paul enthusiasts I speak with on a Saturday in early February as absurd. Paul’s single-minded goal, they insist, is to become president of the United States. Several have found in Paul a libertarian soul mate. He has radically changed the minds of others, leading them to reject previous allegiances and join his camp.

What gives? Who are these people? Why are they so committed? What are they thinking? 

∗ ∗ ∗

“I’d say there are similarities in Occupy to what I believe,” says Normal Heights resident Mario Perea, who attended Occupy San Diego several times over the past year. “But spending time there also allowed me to understand people’s fascination with socialism. The built-in hatred toward capitalism, I think, it comes up from our schools. And a lot of television makes it seem that capitalism is the problem.”

Perea, 32, works for a granite company. “I put in countertops,” he tells me. “That’s what I do for money. For fun, I’m an artist and a researcher.” His wife of a little more than a year is a nurse.

For a long time, Perea tells me, he felt alienated from politics. But instead of trying to find a way to participate, he took refuge in informal communities of graffiti artists. All along, however, he was reading a wide variety of political materials, including the works of Karl Marx and the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara. When he soured on each of them, friends asked if he no longer cared about the social ills they protested. Of course he did, but why did Marx need to introduce a socialist state to run things? And “why,” asks Perea, “did Che say that killing some people had to be part of the solution?”

So, Perea says he turned in another direction, eventually finding much in common with Tea Party partisans, especially their enthusiasm for capitalism. “Then, as we talked, they always came around to wanting to attack Iran, and that turns me off.”

The agreement with the Tea Party had mainly to do with capitalism, although Perea says that unabashedly pursuing his self-interest used to make him uneasy. Then he read Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness. Finally, an ideal he felt could become the guiding light for his life emerged. In the writings of Ron Paul, he discovered “liberty.”

Perea sat out the 2008 election, but this year he is working on his own as an informal volunteer for the Ron Paul campaign. “I go out to places like in front of the USS Midway Museum. I’ll pass out flyers and brochures and just talk to people.”

“The last book I read by Ron Paul was End the Fed,” says Perea, “which gives reasons as to why the Federal Reserve is immoral.” Perea had already been drawn to conspiracy theories of the 9/11 attacks, and after doing some research on his own, he admits that he leans toward some of the “conspiracy-orientated” interpretations of the Federal Reserve Board. “You know, people trying to run the world on the sly.” But it was Paul, he says, who led him to believe that “central banking plays favoritism to certain groups of people and that it’s an unconstitutional institution. Money is not something that the government should be controlling.

“I was at Occupy San Diego on the first day, and it was an amazing sight to see two or three thousand people marching to protest the federal government’s bailouts of huge corporations and the cronyism that is going on. But I think they fall short, because it wasn’t that they were against the bailouts. They just thought the money was going towards the wrong people. It was a surprise to me that the Federal Reserve wasn’t being called out by name at the Occupy because that’s why the Federal Reserve was put into place, as a bailout mechanism, as a lender of last resort. So it’s been one of my goals while I’m at the Occupy to summon the central banks and expose them to folks and to also be a promoter of capitalism, because I believe that it’s through capitalism that the individual is able to achieve.”

These days, Perea has been focusing on another issue, the intrusion of government, in the name of national security, into the lives of citizens. “My feeling on government snooping,” he says,” is that it sets a dangerous precedent. We saw the Patriot Act, and now we see the National Defense Authorization Act. Once, they could snoop on you; now, they can swoop you up and hold you indefinitely. The government’s solution is always more of what was wrong. And we see that in this particular situation, where the solution was the invasion of your privacy. ‘Well,’ they seem to say, ‘our solution is now to pile on more.’”

∗ ∗ ∗

“If you’re in the media,” says Jaclyn Koehl (pronounced Kale), “and you want to blow the whistle on some bad government activity, [law enforcement] could tap and say, ‘Hey, this is subversive to our national security,’ and they could quiet down that reporter.”

“With lots of lies coming at you from other politicians,” Jaclyn Koehl says, it has been “pretty easy” to become a follower of Paul’s presidential candidacy.

“With lots of lies coming at you from other politicians,” Jaclyn Koehl says, it has been “pretty easy” to become a follower of Paul’s presidential candidacy.

Koehl, 33, grew up in Indiana and currently lives in Santee. She says a good friend turned her on to Ron Paul close to six years ago. After that, she started reading Paul’s writings and material about him by other writers. She also looked at a few videos. “With lots of lies coming at you from other politicians,” she says, “it has been pretty easy to become a follower of Paul’s presidential candidacy.” Koehl thinks of him as having great integrity for relying on lots of small donations instead of money from huge special interests. She currently distributes Paul literature in her neighborhood and plans to walk precincts for him for the California primary election in June.

More from the web

Comments

InOmbra April 5, 2012 @ 9:32 a.m.

The simplistic views of Paul's followers are suitable (maybe) only for tiny populations. If only they lived in a country that had a population of just a few thousand! They aren't educatable, and don't care if you point out history and its lessons. Like the 1800s and early 1900s, when toxic, useless, or addictive "medicines" were advertised and sold freely, without regulation. And so what, they say, if it is well-known that raw milk can be lethal, and you won't know it until your child gets sick and dies. (Unless you have a home microscope, a culture lab, and an education in microbiology. That's the ticket! Oh wait, isn't that sort of what the FDA does for all of us?)

"But shouldn’t there be regulation of unethical companies that might put dangerous products on the market?"

" 'I think that’s a social function,” says Koehl. 'I can read in the newspaper that XYZ Corporation is swindling folks.' "

But Ms. Koehl, what if the newspaper has a financial interest and doesn't want to print the story?

Silly people.

1

emj007 April 5, 2012 @ 4:04 p.m.

I really feel sorry for misinformed SHEEP like InOmbra. You have been trained like an animal that you need the Government to survive. But it is really the average American that bankrolls this empire, and it is the Government destroying it. Actually Ron Paul supporters are the most educated political followers in America. Read your post again and you will know what I am talking about. Very sad.....

2

Kympa April 6, 2012 @ 11:18 a.m.

InOmbra, yes in 1800s small operators swindled a lot of stupid Americans. I mean electrical therapy? We have them even now. Just watch late night infomercials! However, what has changed is bringing these charltans to justice is that it is easier to sue now, especially the class action suits which cost the plaintiffs nothing.

0

bradleyed4 April 6, 2012 @ 11:39 a.m.

Governments don't make our food safer, the consumers that purchase good products, that band up to protest and sue companies that do harm to others and through technology and innovation, THAT is what has changed things from the 1800's to now.

0

thehamblogggerman April 5, 2012 @ 11:08 a.m.

Yes of course your right InOmbra...the F.D.A. has protected us so well because as we all know there are no longer any "toxic, useless, or addictive "medicines" being wrecklessly sold. Once again GOVERNMENT SAVES US FROM OURSELVES.. This must also be the reason why these REGULATED Medicines now KILL more people then car accidents...Better buckle up butter cup!!! http://news.yahoo.com/drug-overdoses-kill-more-americans-car-accidents-cdc-170409026.html

1

elysianite April 5, 2012 @ 11:47 a.m.

"But Ms. Koehl, what if the newspaper has a financial interest and doesn't want to print the story?"

You've really gotten used to the status quo, haven´t you? With the consolidation of industries, mergers, and buyouts. If we have a freer market with easier entry, we could have something they used to have way back in the day... more than ONE source of news!

0

thehamblogggerman April 5, 2012 @ 12:58 p.m.

YES RAW MILK IS DEADLY!!! Just like that damn Kambucha!! Everything must be pasturized, irradiated, genetically modified, frozen, blendend, reconstitued, consumed first by a liscened mechanically seperated cow and then remilked under labaratory condtions!! I mean this is for your OWN GOOD...you people are too stupid to make your own decisions...this video should be standard operating procedure for closing down raw milk suppliers... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5zPhh...

0

bradleyed4 April 6, 2012 @ 11:29 a.m.

who are YOU to tell me what I can or can not put in my body?

1

conanthequasilibertarian April 15, 2012 @ 8:45 a.m.

If you get sick, we all pay for it.

Although regarding raw milk, I agree that the rule disallowing interstate transport is just protectionism for the industrial dairy industry.

0

JaclynKoehl April 5, 2012 @ 2:41 p.m.

InOmbra, I'm quite aware that swindlers have existed throughout the ages. That's one reason I question everything.

Let's question the FDA a bit: Did you know that a very significant portion of the FDA's budget comes from user fees that the drug companies pay? Yes. The FDA works as much, if not more, for the drug companies as it does the consumer. Sixty-five percent of the cost of approving a new drug comes directly from the pharmaceutical company. Now get this - pharmaceutical companies actually LOBBIED to get the bill passed that instated the fees. Maybe they liked the idea of the FDA cashing their checks.

Watch Burzynski The Movie. The FDA requires people to buy and ingest toxic chemotherapy medication they don't want before they are allowed to buy a cancer treatment they do want. Do you condone this? Or how about this story where a NJ Congressmen pushed the FDA to approve a faulty medical device. (http://www.jacksonnjonline.com/2009/09/25/nj-congressmen-used-political-influence-to-pressure-fda-to-approve-faulty-medical-device/).
In addition to the death stats posted, you may want to consider all the FDA approved drugs that people suffer injuries from. Just look up "drug injury" and you will find plenty of information about FDA approved prescription drugs that have harmed people. Are you feeling safe yet?
Luckily there is still freedom of speech so that I have access to all this information. Unfortunately, we don't have any choice whether our money goes to the FDA or not. Taxes are not optional. If you could choose where you put your money would you choose an organization with a track record like the FDA?
Now let's tackle your assertion that I am not able to decide on my own whether raw milk was a good choice for my family. After being introduced to the potential health benefits, I talked to our pediatrician, other parents and families that consume raw milk, I found re-sellers of milk and talked to their dairy managers (one goes to the dairy to inspect every year and feeds the milk to his kids), I investigated the dairies and got copies of the independent inspections (If you don't know how to use a microscope there are folks for hire that can), I looked for past news stories about the dairy, and I called the dairy itself. The dairy provides tours to interested consumers. I looked into the history behind pasteurizing milk. Through my conversations I learned how to evaluate milk NOT to buy. After weighing this information, the potential health benefits, and of course the potential risks, I made a decision for us that I am willing to take full responsibility for. Prior to this I had made a mistake in giving my daughter soy milk. It made her sick, and I wish I hadn't given it to her, but I don't think others should be prohibited from drinking soy milk. I like having the freedom to make my own decisions and I respect the right of others to choose for themselves too.
Jaclyn

1

InOmbra April 5, 2012 @ 7:17 p.m.

Ms Koehl, I just wish you'd put your marvelous energy into something real.

In Michigan, Democracy is being totally and flagrantly destroyed. Check it out. Michigan needs people like you to protest.

Or learn what you can about ALEC, and how it is a model for bad government in your state and how it is destroying America. The lobby mill, you know?

Or, if you want, just pay close attention to the destruction of Democracy right here in San Diego, by paying attention to what is going on in the Council committees and in the City Attorney's office.

.The FDA is not your enemy. It isn't imperfect. But please. Stop. Instead, work to make it better.

1

bradleyed4 April 6, 2012 @ 11:35 a.m.

She is working for something better. Freedom is always better. How she chooses to strive for freedom, whether it is in her own community or abroad is HER choice. Perhaps if you stopped dictating what other people should do then we could all come together.

1

ImJustABill April 5, 2012 @ 9:29 p.m.

OK, so I personally wouldn't go as far as Paul in terms of removing regulatory agencies and social programs. We do need some things regulated and I do think a lot of people need some assistance from the government at some point.

But Paul is the only major candidate who is serious about responsible spending, respecting individual liberty, and compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

With any of the other candidates from either major party I can be sure to see a continued erosion in personal liberties (more invasive TSA, etc), unjustified and unnecessary wars, continued transfer of wealth from main street to wealthy Wall Street firms, escalation of debt and series of financial bubbles.

0

SurfPuppy619 April 6, 2012 @ 9:26 a.m.

But Paul is the only major candidate who is serious about responsible spending, respecting individual liberty, and compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

You beat me to it,RP isteh ONLY one witha PLAN to actually cut the deficit.

1

bradleyed4 April 6, 2012 @ 11:32 a.m.

those social programs directly contribute to the high prices that force people to rely on them. And secondly, Ron Paul's plan is for a TRANSITION for the states to adopt those programs if they choose, and NOT for a prohibition of them in anyway.

1

jimlundberg April 5, 2012 @ 9:51 p.m.

There are over 400 soldiers committing suicide every year because of the policies of these presidents and none of the candidates accept Ron Paul will really address this problem.

2

thehamblogggerman April 5, 2012 @ 10:53 p.m.

MIKE BENOIT 2012!!!! The r3VOLution is HERE!!!!

1

EducatedPatriot April 5, 2012 @ 11:45 p.m.

THANK YOU for such a great and honest article. It is always refreshing and provides hope to hear other well educated citizens being awake and informing others.

The revolution is strong with this one.

San Diego, California, USA, World for Ron Paul 2012

None

1

Kympa April 6, 2012 @ 11:21 a.m.

Very good writing. Dramatic. Very fair and balanced. One of the most positive pieces of coverage on Ron Paul I have seen. But then, SDReader must not be part of MSM. Go SDReader!!! We need an article like this every week to wake the masses up. Thank you.

1

OistrakhShostakovich April 8, 2012 @ 1:46 a.m.

InOmbra describes "Paul Followers" as being simplistic and not educatable, when Paul's demographic is the exact opposite with by far the most educated and logical followers of any candidate. Lets take a look at the facts about the alternatives to Paul and let's use the most important piece of congressional legislation, since the passing of the constitution, The NDAA, as our frame of reference. InOmbra please excuse my simplistic choice for an apotheosis of comparatives, but since the NDAA completely renders our constitution irrelevant, it is as important as the constitution. The NDAA authorizes the government to hold any American or person indefinitely, torture them and/or kill them, without ever bringing charges against them. If the government can hold indefinitely or kill me without charging or having due process, my rights are gone and som is the constitution that provided those rights. Analysis:

Obama: Supports indefinite holding of Americans, whether innocent or not, and supports their torture and/or murder as provided under the NDAA. Obama signed the NDAA legislation into law and his Attorney General announced at a speech two weeks ago at the Northwestern University Law School that President Obama intends to investigate U.S. citizens from the executive branch and to adjudicate them (try and sentence them) as president. Obama also put together the bank bailout and stimulus package that ended up spending some $3 Trillion to bailout $800 Billion, and then outspent all previous presidents combined taking the cost of government from $3.3 Billion per day in 2008 to $10.4 Billion per day in 2012, so that our debt is over $14.3 Trillion. Obama quadrupled Bush's last budget in his first year. Since a 100 percent tax on every American could not even pay the interest on our debt, Obama has directed the Fed to print $75 Billion in new money before July to keep things going long enough for him to get re-elected and then huge inflation will occur. The dollar lost over 33 percent of its value under Obama. Another 4 years of similar fiscal policies will yield similar results, which would mean a total and complete collapse of the dollar.

Santorum: Supports indefinite holding of Americans, whether innocent or not, and supports their torture and/or murder as provided under the NDAA. Ironically Santorum claims to be a Christian Candidate that holds the sanctity of human life above all other values, including the rights of unborn children, but he apparently believes in the torture and murder of grown-ups as provided in the NDAA, which he enthusiastically supports.

O. Shostakovich PhD MS MA

1

OistrakhShostakovich April 8, 2012 @ 1:48 a.m.

To InOmbra

Romney: Romney enthusiastically supports the NDAA and believes that the torture, indefinite holding of American citizens without any charges or due process, and/or the use of torture and murder are justified and that the constitutional rights of Americans are not important. Romney states that he is for a small government and wants to reduce spending, but Romney supports the expansion of the Domestic Drone Program to be used in America to monitor the daily habits of all Americans at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollar a year, with this huge Gestapo-esque bureaucracy.

Gingrich: Gingrich is the most confused of all. When asked during the debates if he supported the NDAA, Newt replied, "We should use and support the NDAA to do everything possible to defend our Freedom and Constitution." Wait if the NDAA strikes down the constitutional rights of all Americans and takes away their FREEDOM, by allowing them to be held without charges, tortured and killed, exactly what is NEWT defending!

Ron Paul: The press has been painting Paul as crazy, but he is the only candidate running for president that believes that innocent people should not be held indefinitely, tortured and killed. He is the only candidate recognizing that having $100 Trillion in unfunded Social Security and Medicare, $14.3 Trillion in Debt and a $1.3 Trillion deficit, is ridiculous and calls for immediate action, whereas the other candidates call for action over the next 30 years, or in Obama's case, doesn't want to lower spending at all ever.

InOmbra, currently we have a "Socialistic Government For The Rich," that taxes the middle class and working poor, so that the rich corporations can funnel the money through large governmental bureaucracies to themselves. In is a simple bait and switch, where taxes are routinely levied to benefit education, healthcare and police/fire services, but the money is then used by and paid to large corporate special interests.

InOmbra perhaps you have a more advanced, complicated and sophisticated way to make $100 Trillion in unfunded Social Security and Medicare go away, which dovetails with spending at the highest spending rates and percentage increase rates in history. Since you think Paul supporters are all not educatable, you can dummy down your answer to my level. I have doctorates in both Statistics and Finance, and masters in Music and Chemistry. I support Ron Paul, because he believes and votes for freedom and opposes torture, murder and the gutting of human rights for Americans. What is subtle escapes you, but what is profound and determinative has gone completely over your arrogant head.

O. Shostakovich PhD MS MA

2

thehamblogggerman April 9, 2012 @ 10:55 a.m.

Shostakovich pretty much came through on that last comment!!!! Not sure if there will be any rebuttals....but I will stay tuned.

0

conanthequasilibertarian April 15, 2012 @ 8:46 a.m.

The problem with Libertarianism is "Whose is the Libertarianism is the best?" Opposition to intellectual property laws, legalizing prostitution and illegal drugs, getting rid of corporate welfare, for example, are Libertarian positions I can get behind.

Many Libertarians demonstrate an incredible naivete regarding the so-called "free market," however. No market, literal or figurative, can exist without the government, yet many Libertarians and other "free marketeers" seem to think that the free market is some universal force which exists outside of society, like gravity or the speed of light.

And as for "sheep," in my experience, the person who calls another a sheep is most likely the sheep him- or herself, because projection is a wonderful thing.

"But shouldn’t there be regulation of unethical companies that might put dangerous products on the market? 'I think that’s a social function,' says Koehl."

Here's that naivete in action. Is she really saying it's better to wait until something bad happens and then we shame the company?

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close