It was Tucker Carlson's interview that got me thinking on the topic. I can't exactly say I like him, or not like him, but some things are easier to learn from people of the opposing persuasion; or from the borders of the movement, of those who are sympathizers but not 100% inside.
For the record, I think most members of the Ron Paul movement are no conspiracy theorists, oddballs or nuts, whatever they are called.
But, there is a sizable and visible presence of these 'fringe' elements. There have been arguments against them, attempts to throw them out and flame wars. There have been also many appeals to tolerance and about the importance of having more members and points of view. It is an easy way to denigrate the whole movement and make fun of it. This is no attempt of arguing for them or against them, just noting the controversy around them.
But in general, why would conspiracy theorists want to support Ron Paul? He has on multiple occasions noted, that the government "can't even run the post office", so there is reasonable doubt against vast conspiracies performed in perfect secrecy that wouldn't eventually come out. Let's see the arguments for it:
First of all, if someone believes the government has done and/or is up to very bad things, a call for smaller government is a solid option. Some would desire a change on the top, others don't trust governments implicitly. A smaller government has less means to do bad things, less rights, and finally is less able to conceal its actions. An omnipresent entity that has its fingers everywhere is hard to see through, not to speak of one that is permanent war on several fronts. Add to it attacks on civil liberties and you have the perfect recipe. It is the massive size of the state that tends to breed conspiracy theorists.
Ron Paul doesn't trust the state, and is all for smaller government. Also, he has no interest in controlling other people.
Second, the movement itself, while not always friendly and welcoming, is quite tolerant to those 'fringe elements' and that is a boon in itself for those preaching their own gospel.
Lastly, on the personal level, RP is a friendly and accommodating person, who doesn't put down the ideas of others. It is often said "agree to disagree", and he is one of the few able to pull it off with respect from both sides. He is also willing to take a political stand, on principle, for people he has nothing in common with.
Quote: "I'm for freedom. Adults disagree. And that's okay."
But what about the rest of the movement, how are they supposed to deal with dismissing comments and own doubts? As noted, it is an easy way to score points and crack jokes. So what's the positive about them? How can it be argued when it is brought up?
- it can be said, that some of the most paranoid elements of society find Ron Paul trustworthy. You can't buy honesty; he simply has it. Tell that about other politicians. There are some nuts around every campaign, but people who don't trust politicians in general go freely to Ron Paul.
- even those oddballs bring up valid questions and concerns that tend to be silenced and dismissed. That shouldn't be overlooked.
- and lastly, the campaign and presence of Ron Paul has a cultivating effect on them. :)
Update: slightly edited and reposted here, where it has more chances to be seen.