New in Books
The Revolution: A Manifesto
by Ron Paul
(Grand Central Publishing) $21
The Revolution, in true dunderheaded Ron Paul fashion, is a book that was published at least a year too late—not even soon enough to be a fitting punch line for the presidential campaign whose one true achievement was successfully renting a blimp. It's arrived for the party after everyone else has gone home or passed out, but it's not too proud to lecture, loudly, everyone who isn't paying any attention.
People have called Paul a Libertarian, but that's not strictly true; neither is he a strict Constitutionalist, as many of his single-minded followers insist. Paul is the kind of nerd who still owns issues of the Objectivist journal that were published in 1966—he named his son Rand Paul in honor of Ayn Rand, after all. The president Paul claims most respect for is the nerdy, ineffectual Taft.
"This is how the founding fathers thought," he swears again and again, once even in emphatic italics, claiming that there's only one way to read the Constitution. He puffs up at one point like an ancient high-school civics teacher who's mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore: "Now isn't our Constitution a 'living' document that evolves in accordance with experience and changing times, as we're so often told? No—a thousand times no."
By describing what the Constitution means, of course, Paul is really saying, "How I interpret the Constitution," which is through an objectivist lens. But this flimsy philosophical netting only holds unless Paul personally disagrees with something, as with abortion: "If we can be so callous as to refer to a growing child in a mother's womb as a parasite, I fear for our country's future all the more." Paul continually compares his foes to Nazis, the last-ditch effort of a mediocre mind trying to defend itself, a tactic generally left to internet message boards and the guise of anonymity.
He sees no need for things like pollution control, or civil rights, because he believes that business and the people will straighten things out. It's hard not to picture Paul writing the whole book with a quill pen and wearing a powdered wig. He clearly believes that he's the only person fit to interpret the Constitution, and as such, the dictatorship in his head finally earns the one –ist that explains all of Paul's drafty beliefs: He's the world's first Ron Paulist.