Thursday, January 5, 2012

Will Ron Paul Engage Evangelical America

Allthough I was disappointed that I lost a few bucks on intrade, I'm actuallly not sure winning Iowa would have helped Ron Paul that much. It's the ability to formulate an alternative to the prevaling communitarian narrative among Christian-conservatives that focuses entirely on values that will decide these elections. Communitarianism has undermined the grassroot appeal of most mainstream political parties over the last two decades. In particular Christian Democracy. Dutch prime-minister Balkenende used Amitai Etzioni's communitarian values rhetoric to forge an alliance between anti-muslim & the old christian democratic base. When the media attacks Ron Paul on some nasty quotes in the Ron Paul newsletters years back, he should point to the anti-immigrant and anti-muslim politicial parties that have mushroomed due to this communitarian judeo-christian values narrative.

Only if Ron Paul can formulate in a speech directed at social conservatives across the US a clear alternative to communitarism, will he be able to win. The alternative should not just be about the economy but also adress the way he sees the relationship between Christian faith and politics. A speech that would resonate with those who have listend to the libertarian sounding speeches of Kennedy "Ich bin ein Berliner", Martin Luther King "quest for peace" or Aldous Huxley's quote in "Devils of Loudun": "Civilization demands from the individual devoted self-identification with the highest of human causes. But if this self-identification with what is human is not accompanied by a conscious and consistent effort to achieve upward self-transcendence into the universal life of the Spirit, the goods achieved will allways be mingled with counterbalancing evils"

A speech that would answer those who still believe Ron Paul panders to extremists, lunatics and racists. A speech that would link foreign policy with his unwillingness to just praise Americans. A speech that would also move the debate on foreign policy away from the eternal Israel versus the dangerous Islamic world narrative.

Many specialists believe we haven't had clear focus in our foreign policy since the end of the cold war which led to the blind support of undemocratic revolutionaries across Africa, in particular Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame and the idolisation of Mandela. As a Dutch reformed who has read Kuyper & Schilder and Groen van Prinsterer, I am attracted to Ron Paul's strong anti-(French) revolutionary position on democracy promotion abroad. A position that has the potential to win over many social conservative Evangelicals if emphasized more. Foreign policy is more then a discussion on the Islamic republic Iran and it's potential quest for nuclear warheads.

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