Back in 1986, a woman sat in a meeting with her child’s guidance counselor. The subject: whether to put the kid in Gifted Studies, or in Special Ed. Said the mother to the guidance counselor:
“He could engineer the best wet paper bag in the world, but he couldn’t find his way out of it. That’s why we buy him Velcro shoes.”
Rand Paul is kind of like that.
Say what you want about Rand Paul, but the guy is easily classifiable as an intellectual. Like his namesake, Ayn, (even though his family denies this is the case, I just can’t believe that!) he truly does have a finely functioning frontal lobe. But the problem with intellectuals is that they tend to fall in love with the process of thought itself, and ignore any practical application behind it. Abstract concepts are no problem…an intellectual specializes in seeing patterns and predicting outcomes, so he/she has no problem coming up with a thousand reasons NOT to do anything. See Matt Damon’s prophetic NSA monologue in Good Will Hunting.
But much like Matt Damon, and the above-mentioned paper-bag engineer, knowing why you SHOULDN’T do a thousand things doesn’t always lead to the one thing you SHOULD do. Maybe that’s why, on the subject of Syria, Rand Paul knows exactly what America SHOULDN’T do. Which, as Stephen Colbert so pithily noted, is…anything:
Rand #1: The current disarmament plan: “I don’t know whether to trust the proposal or not. The question is: Are they serious? Can we TRUST the participants in this plan?”
Rand #2: Doing nothing: “It’s a violation of every norm for someone to kill civilians, and I think Assad should be accountable.”
Colbert: “I agree with the second Rand Paul. We should hold them accountable with the President’s plan…send a message (to Assad).”
Rand #3: Limited strikes: “They have said that the war will be UNBELIEVABLY small and limited. To me, that sounds like they’re pre-announcing that the military strikes will not punish Assad personally, or affect regime change. I think if Assad is responsible, he deserves death.”
Colbert: “BOMBS AWAY!”
Rand #4: Doing anything: “I think if we bomb Assad, I think it’ll be more likely that the country becomes more unstable. Just about any bad outcome you can imagine is made more likely by U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War.”
“OK, this is the Rand Paul I agree with. Because think about it: If we take out the guy who gasses children, somebody BAD might take over. So, just to recap, Rand Paul says 1) No to diplomacy, 2) Can’t do nothing, 3) No to the President’s plan and 4) No to regime change. So that means…uhhh. Huh.”
OK…got all that? That logic sounds familiar. I’ve seen this movie. Good Will Hunting? Care to remind us why you shouldn’t work for the NSA?
But, sorry, Rand…there’s no going back. Take the world as it is, stay out of it, or find a profession where you don’t have to actually DO anything of consequence except think out loud.
Political blogging, perhaps.