Has Ron Paul Become Our Guy Fawkes?
by Thomas Luongo
Remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason, and plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
sure the idea of using Catholic-conspirator Guy Fawkes and his anarchic
anti-hero V as the basis for a political fund-raising campaign has
Alan Moore seething, seeing red and cursing the moment he signed
away the rights to his and David Lloyd's brilliant V
for Vendetta to DC/TimeWarner even more so than when he
read the first draft of the Wachowski Brothers' screenplay and
had his name removed from the film.
the funny thing about creating something. Quality work not
only sells itself, it self-replicates and evolves into something
far beyond what you intended for it. In an interview during the
film's production Moore's biggest issue with the screenplay was
the expunging from the story any overt discussion of anarchy (a
criticism I share, frankly). But, much like the libertarian movement,
there were those who were afraid of Ron Paul's campaign at the outset,
life-long LP'ers and beltway libertarians mostly, afraid that the
ideas they thought were important would be lost within the morass
of Republican politics and Dr. Paul's perceived missteps in presenting
the message in previous venues.
But, in the
end, if you love something you must allow it to roam free and, like
any good plan, give it the chance to survive contact with the enemy;
to trust that you've done your best to communicate the truth as
you see it and allow it to gestate in the minds of those you were
trying to reach in the first place. Ideas without an audience
will never become anything more than ideas, no matter how bullet-proof
they might be, to quote Alan Moore.
ideas behind V's violent revolution and Ron Paul's peaceful one
are the same. The Wachowski Brothers screenplay took Moore's
dystopic vision in the final act of the comic and toned the violence
down to a personal struggle, V's vendetta, and the destruction of
an inanimate object, as opposed to the unleashing of societal chaos
on a mass scale, the culmination of which is Evey's appearance at
the right moment dressed as V to galvanize the movement and transform
his persona from sacrificial destroyer to that of architect of the
in me says that Moore's vision is closer to what will actually happen
when (not if) the United States reaches the state of affairs depicted
in Moore and Lloyd's original work. But, like the Wachowski
brothers more-fanciful re-telling for film suggests, I hope that
there is another way; a grand statement made by a large number of
people peacefully letting the authorities know that they want to
be treated differently without resorting to violence. By doing
in anonymity what they could not do singularly, namely converging
on Parliament to witness and sanction the destruction of the old
social order (if only symbolically) and complete the work that Fawkes
could not, the people of England in the film state that they are
rejecting violence as the means of change; that this event is their
catharsis even if they aren't quite sure what it all will mean tomorrow.
We too have
that choice and it is the one I wholly advocate. Our system of social
organization has not so completely broken down that we cannot make
ourselves heard individually, within a group, and reject the notion
of state control of our lives. This is where Guy Fawkes and Alan
Moore meet Ron Paul. As flawed, immoral and cynical as the political
system is inherently, at times, it can serve as a mechanism for
us to do great things; to make great statements no matter how much
our masters may hate us for doing so.
In my mind
it becomes even more ironic and poignant to use the stateís own
mechanism of control, i.e., electing a President, to do so.
As he has noted
multiple times, Paul has offered himself as the figure-head for
a revolution that was mature enough, finally, to find him.
His campaign is a spontaneous and self-organizing uprising of human
frustration; acknowledging that it's truly time for a change in
direction for this society and the responsibility that comes with
that knowledge. It's a role he has taken on willingly, with
great enthusiasm. And, for that his supporters, many of whom are
not even remotely acquainted with the ideas of market anarchism
no less would agree with them if they were, have rewarded him with
the only thing that truly talks in politics, money.
So, while our
money is as corrupt as our political system, anathema to the very
demands that created it in the first place, it is, in essence, a
voluntary and peaceful medium of exchange and, in this application,
a force for political change. Individual people are paying
Ron and his staff to help them defend themselves from further pillage
by their government and its masters. Donations to the Ron
Paul campaign can almost be looked at as insurance against violence;
Production of Defense that Prof. Hans-Hermann Hoppe has done
so much work defining the mechanisms of. So, in essence, this
is a defensive revolution. At its core it is peaceful and
voluntary, the hallmarks of the polite and orderly society we all
want, but now realize we cannot achieve through violence and coercion.
will be remembered, rightly or wrongly, as the leader of a violent
uprising but whose legacy persists some 400 years after his death
at the hands of the State. Ironically, on the day where he is burned
in effigy and the thwarting of his plot by the State is celebrated,
these activities have been deemed
dangerous to public safety and greater state control over them
We are rapidly
approaching the day of remembrance for this year and this time a
group of people dedicated to peace and freedom want to update his
memory with a singular event. By donating an unprecedented amount
of money in one day it would mark the beginning of a new way of
doing things, a new means of organization. In essence, to drop the
proverbial bomb on the U.S. political establishment, testifying
to the raw power of the people to self-organize when motivated by
something in their best interest and shaking the power structure
at its core and by never once lifting a hand in anger.
achieve their stated goal or not is irrelevant, the idea now exists
on its own, and like the self-replicating informational virii from
another work of speculative animation, Ghost
in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (but that is an article for
a different day) it infects us looking for new and inventive ways
to express itself. For right now, Ron Paul is its conduit.
In the end,
isnít that what Alan Moore wanted us to take from his story of fascism
and anarchy? Isnít that what anarchy is supposed to celebrate?
So while Guy
Fawkesí revolution died on the vine of violence and Vís is forever
stuck at its moment of crisis, Ron Paulís grows peacefully stronger
and more interesting every day.
Luongo [send him email]
is a professional chemist, amateur economist and obstreperous Southerner-in-Training.
In addition to publishing his personal blog, he currently contributes
to AOL's NHL Fan
House as well as covers the Buffalo Sabres at Sabre
© 2007 Thomas Luongo