If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself.
-Spanish Proverb (HT: The Quotations Page)
There are occasions when a gentleman does not shake hands indiscriminately. There have to be some refusals, or the gesture no longer retains value or meaning. In his most recent debate with Jack Conway, GOP Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul exercised exceptional philosophical judgment by not according Jack Conway the handshake.
Quite simply, Jack Conway had attempted to paint Rand Paul as a religious nut-job. Conway released an ad that attempted to insinuate that he was into what The Venomous “Conservative” Kathleen Parker dubbed “Oogety-Boogety.”
The Oogety-Boogety in question involves some stupid behavior on Rand Paul’s part during his college years. He joined a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood and spouted a significant amount of sacrilegious clap-trap. Examples follow below of what has shown up in Conway’s pathetic attack ads.
Earlier this week, the political Web site Politico said the society, the NoZe Brotherhood, called the Bible “a hoax” and quoted a former society member who said Paul “… made fun of Baptists …”
The Conway campaign said Paul still hasn’t explained an earlier report in GQ in which a woman said Paul “blindfolded me, tied me up … told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him.”
Growing up is a beautiful thing. Rand Paul has since graduated from school and started a family. He now regularly attends church in Bowling Green, KY. His wife is a deacon. They are mainline Presbyterian. They belong to a denomination that hasn’t been “Oogety-Boogety” since the Protestant Reformation made it to Scotland.
Back then, Presbyterians were famous for crazy beliefs like translating Bibles into the vernacular and teaching every member of their congregation to read so that they could properly comprehend their salvation. Perhaps, if Rand Paul were in a mood to repay Jack Conway in equitable currency, he would run ads attacking Jack Conway’s ignorant fear of a literate general population. This would be unfair, but then again, to reach Conway’s level, it would just have to be.
This leads us to yet another reason why Rand Paul was correct in reading Jack Conway out his circle of legitimate gentlemen. Negative political ads, like brutal hits on NFL Wide Receivers, are nasty, but fair. Brutal hits on an individual that also demean unfairly entire religions, races or classes of people cross a line. If I were Conway, and thought large numbers of people wouldn’t like Rand Paul’s views on immigration reform or public education; I’d light him up with extreme prejudice and clear conscience. Conway’s ad does no such thing. It is garbage. Rand Paul elevated the level of debate when he said the following.
“I will not be associated with a man who attacks my religion.”
When Eleanor of Aquitaine (not Aqua-Buddha) began to promulgate the code of courtly behavior known as chivalry, it was for the betterment of her society. It proposed logical behavioral limits, in return for enhanced peace and decency. The reason a gentleman should actually be gentle is so that he can live in safer, better, happier and more predictable world.
But in order for this code to function, there had to be a sanction against transgressors. The gentleman is limited in how low he can stoop. A transgressor against chivalry is under no such constraint. Absent corrective punishment for transgression, the gentleman always gets killed. We clearly do not want our nation to be a system where anyone who plays by the rules and upholds fair play is a sucker.
The most effective punishment to date, in most social interactions where means of forcible coercion do not exist, involves shunning. Rand Paul does have run against Jack Conway. He doesn’t have to invite him over for a beer. He doesn’t have to acknowledge this man as a social or moral equal and only substantiates Jack Conway’s garbage if he does.
The only “Oogety-Boogety” going on here is cheap and unwarranted character assassination of the sort that makes rational people hate 10th grade. Rand Paul was given an opportunity to show us all how to properly handle venomous snakes. Being a good, rational Christian, Rand Paul handles his by avoiding them whenever he can. Rand Paul was magnificently right when he refused to shake Jack Conway’s hand after their recent debate.
X-Posted At: THE MINORITY REPORT