Blog 2: Charismatic Ron Paul 2012

Max Weber in “Domination and Legitimacy” develops the character of an charismatic authority figure. Weber introduces an authority figure which is bases their leadership on individual and collective principles, and who “preaches, creates, or demands new obligations – most typically, by virtue of revelation.” Weber’s depiction of a charismatic authority figure, can be compared with the characteristics and leadership of republican candidate for the 2012 election, Dr. Ron Paul. Although his views may seem radical to some, his interest and proposed initiative of reforming the United States can benefit the currently unstable American society. For example, Dr. Ron Paul proposes the idea of legalizing hemp. He views hemp as a “good product” and recognizes not only its medicinal benefits, but its economic and environmental value as well.

Although some people do not support the legalization of hemp because of the plants reputation of being a Schedule 1 Drug, many are beginning to recognize the misrepresentation of hemp in the American society. The criminalization of marijuana that sparked a false understanding of hemp, which is now, through the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in some states allows people to evolve from their negative views. Like Durkheim proposes, “crime was useful as a prelude to reforms which daily become more necessary” and it is through the criminalization of marijuana that caused the revelation of the law, and is now attempting to promote the change of tradition in order to refine social facts. Ron Paul’s proposal can revolutionize the foundation of American society, however, “it is recognition on the part of those subject to authority which is decisive for the validity of charisma.”

We as a society must come to terms with reality and begin to support those in favor for our overall interest and well-being. It is only from the support of the individuals can the charismatic authority figure be able to apply their proposals through their leadership. We must have “absolute trust in the leader,” but must understand that if the leader “fails to benefit his followers, it is likely that his charismatic authority will disappear.” People must not forget that although it may seem that they do not have a voice in their society, that it is far from the case. An individual is powerful, and if one applies their energy and time to support a cause for change, a revolution will inevitably occur. “Charismatic authority repudiates the past, and is in this sense a specifically revolutionary force,” but it is only though the support of the individual can change come. Success in Ron Paul’s election will definitely bring about a needed change to the American society, it will “result in a radical alternation of the central attitudes and directions of action with a completely new orientation of all attitudes toward the different problems of the ‘world’.”

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2 responses to “Blog 2: Charismatic Ron Paul 2012

  1. Ron Paul is definitely a political actor that thinks outside the box in terms of trying to find different ways and approaches to consolidate our nation. He is a political figure that has been around for decades and has been able to stay relevant through generations. However in my opinion, I would not consider Ron Paul to be categorized as having charismatic authority. He certainly possesses charisma as it is a trait that has allowed him to stay relevant in the political process, and which has allowed him to become a Republican Presidential nominee in the year 2012.

    What Ron Paul lacks however is a majority following. Charismatic leaders throughout history that have been able to achieve charismatic authority, were able to win the acceptance of their masses. Barack Obama in my opinion would be closer to a charismatic leader possessing charismatic authority since he was successfully able to become the 44th President of the United States. The dire state that our country was in during the 2008 Presidential primaries, and election, allowed him to capitalize on the negative sentiment that the U.S. population had on the Republican party. Our citizens wanted change, and the notion of him being a “fresh” candidate allowed him to add the word change to his political campaign’s slogan.

    Obama was able to capitalize on the state of our country, and the sentiment of its people. Ron Paul has been relevant for years, however does not possess a legitimate chance at EVER winning the presidency, which makes him in my opinion not able to possess charismatic authority.

  2. Polished and persuasive post. Great job weaving in well-chosen quotations from from multiple theorists. Perhaps what the marijuana decriminalization (and/or legalization) movement needs is a charismatic leader? Opinion polls suggest that people’s minds are changing about decriminalization. But even as the public shows more openness to decriminalization, policy and legislation at the national level appears to be moving in the opposite direction. Ron Paul stands out from much of Washington on this as well as civil liberties, foreign policy, and Fed policy. His record of voting against the majority of his party, and publicly objecting to core elements of today’s “bipartisan consensus” definitely gives Paul cred as a “man of principle.” And he says things few others dare to say — about “endless war” and warped Fed priorities — which might give him the air of a “prophet.” Despite these qualities, as you perceptively note, charisma depends on how people respond. I think the corporate media plays a role here. And I think Noe is right in pointing to his longevity — in a way, this seems to undermine charisma. The other point about presidential appeal is something different than charisma. Being unable to win the US presidency certainly does not rule out the possibility of charisma. Most legitimately charismatic authorities never develop a mass, national following.

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