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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Liveblogging Gordon Wood's The Idea of America

Sometimes, it might appear that there is a gulf separating the way pro-Paul and anti-Paul people judge the Texas congressman.

The pro-Paul people say, "Ron Paul is a man in the mold of this nation's founders, a true defender of the views that formed this Republic!"

The anti-forces say, "Are you kidding? Ron Paul is a nut job, a person who believes completely absurd things about there being massive, dark conspiracies to rob us of our liberty."

Well, folks, if I am one thing, it is a uniter not a fighter, so I'm here to say, you can both be right, because... the founders also generally believed completely absurd things about there being massive, dark conspiracies to rob them of their liberty! Although I don't think this will get into the high school history books anytime soon, I do believe this is now generally recognized by the experts in the field, people like Pocock, Bailyn, and Wood.

Here is Wood:
[The rebels thought that] the Tories were all "wretched hirelings, and execrable parricides"; George III, the "tyrant of the earth," a "monster in human form"; the British soldiers, "a mercenary, licentious rabble of banditti," intending to "tear the bowels and vitals of their brave but peacable fellow subjects, and to wash the ground with a profusion of innocent blood." (p. 31)
And Bailyn:
the fear of a comprehensive conspiracy against liberty throughout the English-speaking world -- a conspiracy believed to have been nourished in corruption, and of which, it was felt, oppression in America was only the most immediately visible part -- lay at the heart of the Revolutionary movement. (quoted in Wood, p. 36)
So, next time someone tells you Ron Paul is a nutty conspiracy theorist, reply "As were the founding fathers!"

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