The Long Tail and Long Reach of Ron Paul


Am I betting against the long tail in the primaries? No way! Why not? Well, it seems that every time I bet against the tail, it ends up whipping me back to reality.

Two recent examples come to mind.

Jorma Kaukonen played lead guitar for the 60’s rock group Jefferson Airplane and later for the blues-influenced Hot Tuna. While still being a great guitarist, Jorma is now a long-tail musician, with stadium concerts an almost-forgotten past.

In order to publicize his latest CD of new music, Jorma staged a free mini-concert and CD signing at a local music store. I decided to take my family to enjoy the music and the scene.

The night before the show, my wife asked me what time I planned to leave the house the following morning. Given that I am a long-tail audiophile and that Jorma is a long-tail artist, and that the only notice for this event was a sentence or two tucked deep in the local newspaper, I saw no reason to arrive early. I fully expected to be competing for seats or standing room with only a few other long-tail stragglers. Boy was I wrong.

The morning awoke to an unexpected cold front, with blustery, chilling winds and occasional showers. Not a day to venture out for just any old event, yet the long tail came to the music store in full force, and I was out a performance. No concert, no signing, nothing. By the time we had arrived, the parking lot was packed with a large group of fellow long-tailers, all facing the elements without any chance of seeing Jorma, even from a distance. Yes, we had arrived too late to get a spot inside the store, and barely found standing room on the parking lot. The long tail whipped me again.

You see, just because someone appeals to the not-so-mainstream does not mean that he cannot create a tipping-point crowd. While Jorma showed me this in clear detail, a more recent example is of immediate interest.

On December 16, Ron Paul proved for the umpteenth time that his long tail could create a scene. And, Paul’s record fund raising – money received from tens of thousands of lovers of Liberty – demonstrates that his long tail can change the face of politics in a flash.

Given that long-tailers tend to be committed and willing to face the wind and rain – note the crowd at the Ron Paul Tea Party held the same day in snowy, windy Columbus, Ohio; and given that primaries typically have a low voter turnout; it’s easy to see how just a small percentage of the population can change history. It certainly did on December 16.

However, instead of a being just a long-tail candidate, I claim that Ron Paul is also a long-reach candidate. How else do you explain the fear he creates within the establishment, on both sides of the aisle?

Economist Frdric Bastiat of France wrote about a similar situation back in the 1800’s. While serving as an elected official, he transformed a society of local labors into a committee – the Lower Council of Labor – that was comprised of those who were not part of the established trade associations – the Upper Councils of Industry.

To understand the thoughts of these folks, he had them break into subcommittees of the various trades and then asked each subcommittee to answer the question of whether tariffs and other forms of protection helped or hampered them.

Without the voice of the power-hungry demagogues – the establishment – spouting lies and nonsense, the subcommittees unanimously decided that government policies harm, they never help. That's right, the common man wanted Liberty in order to go about his business unhampered by the political class.

I believe that absent the DC blob and its mind-numbing talking heads, this country would once again turn toward Liberty, as Liberty still streams through our veins.

Yes, the ideas and ideals of Ron Paul are still the essence of this great nation. And, once he makes inroads in the early primaries, the greater number of voters will begin to hear the truths Paul speaks. His speeches will reach into the hearts and minds of voters who have long been subject to manipulations and lies, awakening the spirit of freedom that lies within all of us – well, almost all of us, as it is fair to assume that the other candidates hear, instead, a sinister inner voice.

Finally, put Paul head-to-head against whichever spinning, statist candidate survives the Democratic primary, and we will see Liberty win in November.

I only had to stand once in a music store parking lot, facing the wind and rain, in order to recognize the power of the long tail. And, I only had to hear Paul speak once in order to feel my renewed passions for Liberty flow warm through my veins, and to recognize the long reach which freedom has on the increasingly oppressed masses of this country.

Yes, the long tail and the long reach of Liberty will win in the end. Go Ron Paul.

December 20, 2007