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Matthew and Paul - A Morality Debate

Normally the above title might be a Sunday sermon topic, not the lead-in to a remarkable U-Tube video of a politician being interviewed by a "journalist" on a lightly watched cable TV station. No, this is not a bible story or a sermon. I'll leave that to the professionals in the pulpits. It's "above my pay grade" as the President once said in dodging a question.

Instead, it is my observations on the above noted "interview" which actually turned out to be a debate between a leftist TV personality, Chris Matthews, and a libertarian MD turned U.S. Representative, Ron Paul of Texas.

If you just watch it once quickly it seems like a typical political interview, each side promoting their own philosophy. One extolling the virtues of big government intervention while the other champions individual liberty as the best route for solutions to societal problems. That is until you realize that each side is sparring for a moral high ground which transcends policy arguments.

Matthews uses his usual style to start things off. Namely, using the pretense of friendly banter even while ridiculing the intelligence of his "guest". He rather skillfully seems to embrace a historical person (Barry Goldwater, who presumably his guest also embraces) in order to show a common bond between them. However, once that is past, he claims it was only a youthful dalliance on his part before he grew up, got smart and grew a heart. He then asks Dr. Paul why he never got similarly smart and empathetic even though, he too grew older. I have to admit, Matthews has raised insult to an art form. (Keep in mind, even bad paintings are regarded as art by some.)

After the stage was set, both parties settled down to a dialog which I found fascinating. Matthews was clearly trying to discredit his guest and tie him to unpopular notions and historical figures, all to no avail in my mind. But then again, I do have a philosophical horse in this race.

In the end, I'm sure most people saw what they wanted to see and no minds were changed. But if you really never knew who Ron Paul was, (other than his portrayal by both Democrats and Republicans as some kind of kook who rambles on endlessly about the evils of the Federal Reserve) now you will at least have some actual idea of why both political parties in this country are terrified that the common sense American values he champions have caught on with a "Tea Party" movement which, so far, no one seems to be able to pigeon hole.

In my opinion, they have much to be fearful about. At least I hope so, because the realisation of the immorality of taking things (at gunpoint if necessary) from one group and giving them to another, (to whom they do not rightfully belong) might finally become the undoing of the kleptocracy this country has drifted into, even with all the best intentions.

A hat tip to Wes Messamore at The Humble libertarian for the video below.

Previously posted short clip of a similar interview of Dr. Milton Friedman on this blog.


Skooks said...

I think the point that RP brings up about social vs. economic liberty is interesting. I have often wondered why there is such a disconnect between the 2 groups when regarding what personal liberties are important and what each side chooses to believe the government has a right to control.

Skooks said...

Oh, and Chris Matthews is really rude. That comment he busts out within the first few moments of the interview says it all. Nice to see RP holding his own even in the face of pretty flagrant "you're an idiot for believing this" type of "questioning".

Grant Davies said...

These kind of philosophical exchanges should be common. (Minus the rude interruptions and condescension of course.) Many years ago they were common on TV. Of course, no one watched, so they stopped putting them on. It's a pity. More people would know where they stand on important issues (and not just the ones in the news) if they knew more than bumper sticker slogans and political talking points.