some of my best friends are libertarians?
May 13, 2012 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Should I date someone who supports Ron Paul?

So, in a rededication to being social, I've embarked on another round of OKC adventures.

One guy, who had a few outlying answers, but otherwise looked interesting, also mentioned strong support for Ron Paul and his effect on politics.

I'm torn. On one had, this makes me worried about both his analytical skills and his empathy. On the other, meeting people is such a crapshoot and it seems silly to disqualify people too easily.

People of metafilter, two questions then:

- Am I being to harsh about Ron Paul? Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him? (I also hold this uncertainty about people who like Ayn Rand.)

- When trying to sort through the hundreds of people on OKC, is it better to cast a wide net for unexpected results, or go for the close match?
posted by mercredi to Human Relations (73 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't date someone who supported Ron Paul - to me it indicates a lack of empathy and imagination as well as a streak of misogyny. Or ignorance. Not a winner regardless. ymmv
posted by leslies at 1:06 PM on May 13, 2012 [24 favorites]

How young is he / you. There are certain parts of Ron Paul that are very appealing to people disenchanted with regular politics. Say his views on pacifism and foreign interventions. On some subjects he says alot of things that make sense, (on other things not so much).
posted by stratastar at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We're both early thirties.
posted by mercredi at 1:09 PM on May 13, 2012

I will preface my response with the confession that anyone on a dating site who mentions liking Ayn Rand is an automatic "no" for me.

I think the best approach to OKC is what works for you.

If you're not that political and find that you get along well with people regardless of what they say about politics on their profiles, yeah, give this guy a chance. Who knows, it could be fun. If you are a seriously committed liberal and feel you couldn't date a libertarian -- or if you HATE Ron Paul and foresee a first date that is a Ron Paul organizing meeting -- then don't give this guy a chance.

In my book it's all about enjoying yourself and meeting people you are likely to enjoy being around. Online dating shouldn't be a chore.

On the Ron Paul thing specifically. I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole, but a very intelligent childhood friend of mine is drinking the Paul kool aid. I don't think support for Ron Paul is mutually exclusive with being a thoughtful person.

That said, it probably depends on the political scene where you live. In a major East Coast city, support for Ron Paul is about as far to the right as it gets. My childhood friend lives in the Bible Belt and runs in conservative circles, where libertarian is practically leftist -- his support for Paul is not all that unfamiliar or out of bounds. I know lots of people in the south who support weirdly right-libertarian beliefs considering how "liberal minded" they supposedly are.
posted by Sara C. at 1:10 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

Either you like the guy and get along with him or you don't. Every person that answers this question in favor of or against Ron Paul and/or his supporters is inserting his or her own biases into your dealings with people, which isn't going to get you where you want to go.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:12 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

If it's going to bother you enough that you can't get past it, don't do it. If I were dating someone who was extremely bothered by my religion, politics, cultural practices, etc., it would be miserable for both parties.
posted by SMPA at 1:13 PM on May 13, 2012

Screw it. If you're in a reasonably sized city (as your profile says you are), you should forget anyone who has stuff in their profile you're not down with. Not worth the trouble.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:15 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you like the guy enough that ideological differences don't matter to you, then go ahead and date him. If political beliefs are important enough to you that you won't be able to respect someone who supports a candidate with beliefs that go against your own, then don't date him. If you feel like having angry hatesex with the dude, then go for it. You don't need to answer to anyone but yourself in this situation, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 1:15 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

blergh, hit enter too soon

Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?

I personally have not encountered any supporters of Ron Paul who did not also have other beliefs I found fairly troubling, but ymmv.
posted by elizardbits at 1:17 PM on May 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify: I don't generally mean "can you date people with different political beliefs?" but rather, whether Ron Paul support specifically is a shibboleth of a fundamentally incompatible worldview.
posted by mercredi at 1:22 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to make the big picture comment that there are a lot of people on internet dating sites. You could waste a lot of time giving a chance to people about who you have reservations, and that is time you can't spend on people about whom you don't have reservations.

On the other hand, if you think you really like or would like someone, why not go for it? You can't make love decisions on a checklist. I once dated and was crazy about a staunch Republican, and that is something I never would have expected.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2012

I think you should be willing to go on a (single) date with this guy. After that, I think whether you go on additional dates wtih him should have more to do with how the first date went, rather than his support for a politician you disfavor.

I agree that meeting people is tough, so one shouldn't be so quick on the reject button, unless they're, you know, a convicted axe murderer or some such.

As far as the Ron Paul vs non RP supporter thing, here's an anecdatum for you. I have a couple of friends from college, who have been married for eight or nine years by now, & have a 1 year old daughter. He is a hard core Ron Paul supporter, and she thinks Obama is a right wing reactionary conservative. So, if they can make it work as long as they have, I think you can handle a date with this guy (assuming he's got a modicum of social skills).
posted by AMSBoethius at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

And no, not all Ron Paul supporters are sociopaths and morons, if you're really asking that.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:28 PM on May 13, 2012 [14 favorites]

Yes, there are thoughtful, empathetic people who support Ron Paul. Support for one particular political candidate tells you very little about what sort of person someone is, and only marginally more about what their actual beliefs are about basic political philosophy or about particular political issues. The only way to find out whether this particular guy is someone you want to date is to get to know him.
posted by decathecting at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I want to add to the points of SMPA and elizardbits 'If political beliefs are important enough to you'...well they certainly are for him!
If he states his political leaning in his profile, he will most likely be vocal about it in everyday life.

Just read your update: read up on Ron Paul’s ideas and judge for yourself. Can you handle listening to that once in a while? Can you see yourself agreeing with it? Do you want to argue about certain viewpoints (now and in future situations that may or may not involve not just the two of you)?
posted by travelwithcats at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

We're both early thirties.

the Ron Paul supporters I know like the old man because of what he says about weed and Afghanistan. The other stuff (misogyny, racism, evolution, etc) they seem to be blissfully unaware of or think Dr. Paul is misunderstood.

To me, it would depend on how into Paul the person is and for what reasons. Depending on that, I'd decide whether to move on.
posted by birdherder at 1:34 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think if Ron Paul supporters truly know about Ron Paul's views and history, including, say, the racist newsletters he allowed to go forth under his name, and they still support him, then that would be a disqualification in my mind. On the other hand, a lot of people are pretty superficial in their knowledge of the candidates they support. So, why not try one date and ask good questions.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 1:38 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't think you can separate the "can you date people with different political beliefs" question from the "can you date a Ron Paul supporter in particular" question. As you know, people can have different reasons for supporting a particular candidate; people can have different views about what's a "deal breaker"; and people with similar moral premises can cache those out in terms of very different practical politics.

So, for example, I know a lot of people who are Ron Paul supporters because they think the drug war is one of the great moral evils of American politics, and Ron Paul is the most successful opponent of the drug war in this election campaign. I know other people who are Ron Paul supporters because they think American troops shouldn't be sent to fight foreign wars, and Ron Paul is the most successful anti-war candidate. On the other hand, I know other people who support Ron Paul because of his anti-abortion views, or his views about the Federal Reserve and the gold standard, or his old racist newsletters.

Whether you can date this person depends on how you feel about these issues, how you feel about dating somebody who has particular views about those issues, and how you feel about dating somebody that makes different tradeoffs than you do when choosing between imperfect candidates.
posted by willbaude at 1:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If, for example, your nervousness about Ron Paul comes from the instinct that it's impossible for a reasonable progressive non-racist person to tolerate his candidacy, you might find instructive this essay from a progressive who think Ron Paul's candidacy is a good thing. Regardless of whether you yourself find these views persuasive, they might illustrate how a non-fringe person could come to support Ron Paul.

(Apologies if I've made an inaccurate assumption about the source of your misgivings.)
posted by willbaude at 1:43 PM on May 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Am I being to harsh about Ron Paul? Are there thoughtful, empathetic people who support him?

You certainly are, since he is supported by many thoughtful, charitable people. But, you can't be expected to know that until you get to know some supporters.

When trying to sort through the hundreds of people on OKC, is it better to cast a wide net for unexpected results, or go for the close match?

Go for a close match in the things most important to you if you're interested in a long-term relationship.
posted by michaelh at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

If he mentioned supporting Ron Paul on his profile, it's because he thinks it's an important part of who he is. If it bugs you, then it's probably not going to work for a variety of reasons. If it was just something he mentioned in passing on the phone, or something, that would be different.
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

He made a big deal about being a Ron Paul supporter on a dating site? Profiles are not like an "oh, so, what did you think of the evening news today?" conversation. They're more about what's core to someone's identity. Iconoclast politics are core to this guy's identity. If that might work for you, maybe drop a line and find out how he thought Ron Paul improved the election to find out whether his flavor of politics is compatible with yours, since it's obviously a significant part of who he is.
posted by salvia at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Why does he support Ron Paul? If you don't know, you are probably being unfairly biased by political affiliation. (Do you agree with every position of every politician you support?)

Of course, there is also no obligation to be fair and unbiased in selection of internet dates.
posted by ecmendenhall at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2012

posted by salvia at 1:46 PM on May 13, 2012

Some libertarians base their political beliefs around an immense respect for charity. The idea is that the greatest good in society is the willful act of extending a helping hand to those in need--emphasis on willful. They reject taxation, etc, because they believe we should focus more on actively seeking attempts to be good neighbors.

Some libertarians aren't like that at all.

I'm not a libertarian. I don't support Ron Paul. I've known some who do, however, who were very thoughtful and kind. I've known some others who were, explicitly and undeniably, selfish, thoughtless jerks.

Were I in your shoes, I'd be more skeptical of this guy than normal. But I still advice you to try him out--I mean, like you said, meeting people is a crapshoot.
posted by meese at 1:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There is no single politician, except maybe David Duke, where I would say support for them is an absolute disqualifier and renders the individual lacking in humanity. Honestly, I find a lot of people's automatic hatred for Ron Paul kind of inflexible and frustrating, personally.

Hi! I'm a person who thinks they have empathy. You're welcome to flip through my stuff here and check for yourself. I don't agree with all of Ron Paul's positions, and find a lot of them objectionable, but do think that of the Republican candidates, he is the one I would most support. Possibly over all of the candidates. Why? Why would I do such a thing, as a woman, given his views on freedom of choice? Why would I do such a thing, given racist newsletters?

A lot of it boils down to my focus on choosing people whose policy choices seem most agreeable to me. So while I might think Ron Paul is totally vile as a human being, I don't think he would impose federal laws against the things he personally thinks are icky-in part because the nature of preferring a smaller federal government prohibits that. I also think he's likely to oppose a lot of the reduction of civil liberties that has taken place in this country, as well as the aggressive pre-emptive wars that we've been engaging in. My two focuses of "what issues are most important to me" center around those. I don't consider whether Romney was a bully in high school, whether Obama dumped a long term girlfriend because she was white, or whether Ron Paul personally opposes abortions. I consider what their official policies are likely to lead to, not what kind of human they are. I think most politicians are vile human beings, and so I don't even try to figure which one is morally best.

For what it's worth, I am happily engaged to someone who despises Ron Paul and is mystified as to why I'd make a pragmatic choice for him.

I mention this to say: yes, I'd go for it. Metafilter skews against Paul, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any interesting people with different views.

In the broader sense, I'd say, find out more about his politics, and see if there's anything you can't live with.
posted by corb at 1:58 PM on May 13, 2012 [15 favorites]

Go on a date and see. The fact that somebody asks people on the internet whether or not they should go on a date because the guy supports a political candidate (and the responses) says more about our polarized culture than anything about dating. That's more worrying to me than any concern about the possible date's empathy.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 2:02 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

The better question is, should you date this Ron Paul supporter? I know a few relationships in which the partners' political beliefs are profoundly at odds, but they're both tolerant and respectful of each other's POV, and most importantly, don't consider their political beliefs to be at the core of who they are as people.

This also reminds me of the age-old question in my circle: "Should I date this vegan, or is it bad idea because I love steak?" (Er, seriously, this question comes up with startling frequency.) I know two meat-loving omnivores happily married to vegans. Key is, the vegan doesn't mind when the omnivore wants to use the pan to cook a big fat steak and then eat it at the same table as the vegan. Yeah, it sometimes makes for awkward experiences when they're on holiday and have to trek five miles out of the way to find a vegan option, but chemistry and love and their respect for each other's choices smooth the bumps in the road.

In short: give the Paul fan a chance. It might not work out -- but if he's tolerant and respectful of your differences, it very well could!
posted by artemisia at 2:05 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you care about being thoughtful and empathetic, why don't you ask him what he likes about Ron Paul? It wouldn't be empathetic of us to presume to know what's going on in the mind of someone we haven't met and know almost nothing about.

By asking this question on a website that leans very strongly to the left, you're making it a foregone conclusion that you're going to be told not to date him because Ron Paul and most of his supporters are heartless, racist, sexist, etc. Calling someone heartless/racist/sexist is a very easy way to belittle someone who has a different viewpoint and often a good way to score points in internet discussions, but it's not necessarily the most empathetic approach.

If you want to read a thoughtful discussion of why libertarianism (including most of what Ron Paul believes) is a good idea, check out The Declaration of Independents, a libertarian manifesto from last year by two of the editors of Reason magazine. It's very engagingly written, with a lot of vivid examples, and it gives a positive vision and an argument for why libertarianism is the best approach to help out Americans in general. It's not just about rich guys whining about the government taking too much of their money. You might not agree with a lot of that book — no problem. But I'll bet if you read even a few chapters of it, you won't come away from it saying that the people who wrote it and anyone who agrees with it are a bunch of sexist, racist, uncaring troglodytes.

(By the way, I know about the Ron Paul newsletters and find them disturbing. But a reasonable person could support Paul based on his current-day views. You wouldn't say someone who supports Dennish Kucinich is against women having a right to choose because he used to be pro-life, or that someone who supports President Obama is anti-gay because he opposed same-sex marriage until last week. Anyway, it's entirely possible that Ron Paul didn't write those newsletters or pay much attention to what was in them. You might not find that convincing as a political matter — but do you really want one scandal having to do with a member of Congress to turn into a dealbreaker in your dating life?)
posted by John Cohen at 2:06 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

People's professed political beliefs and personal practices -- particularly those bearing on relationship suitability -- rarely have much to do with one another. Whatever you think you're screening for in relationship materials by screening for their political beliefs, you are probably not doing so successfully.

Among well-educated, well-off families around me, there's nothing more common then right-wing husbands of left-wing wives. It manifests itself in all kinds of ways: agree-not-to-talk-about-it, ardent-debate-and-agree-to-disagree, joking-at-each-other's-expense, or rolling-one-eye's-and-changing-the-subject. Never seems to be a serious issue.
posted by MattD at 2:07 PM on May 13, 2012

I would at least go out on a date or two with him, of course, I don't mind getting into arguments on a first date so it depends on what you are looking for. At least it probably wouldn't be a boring date?
posted by fromageball at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2012

On one had, this makes me worried about both his analytical skills and his empathy.

This reflects somewhat poorly on you. Are you really so closed-minded to the possibility that your political beliefs are wrong that you assume somebody who disagrees with you has mental defects?

Look, I used to be a democrat (and I live in Massachusetts, where it's easy to be a democrat). At one point, I was confused by why two of my friends (who were both very intelligent, well-educated people) identified as Republican. So I did some research, started looking up websites that appealed to Republican sympathizers, and guess what? Once I did some fact-checking, I discovered that Democratic news sites lie and distort the truth almost as much as Republican ones. It shook me to the core, and I eventually changed my party affiliation to independent.

My point isn't to say that Ron Paul is right (I don't think he is) but your lack of openness to even hearing about other beliefs is concerning. You should go on a date with him, and if you like him, eventually talk politics - in a non-aggressive way, not "I see you like Ron Paul; what's wrong with you?" If he offers logical reasons for his beliefs - even if you disagree - then he's worth dating. On the other hand, if he goes on a rant about American interventionism abroad and starts to act like a crazy person, kick him to the curb.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:10 PM on May 13, 2012 [17 favorites]

I read this question as not "should I date a Ron Paul voter" but "should I date someone who's so excited about Ron Paul, that that is what they decided to include in their dating profile."

If the idea of a date where someone explains all about their Ron Paul excitement sounds good to you, then go. If not, skip it, because apparently Ron Paul is going to be in his top 5 topics.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:11 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

impossible to answer until you get to know him. is it worth dismissing an individual out of hand entirely for such a reason when you're not even apparently sure what his support of ron paul entails? seems silly to me, if you're on online dating websites presumably in order to meet people that you are failing to meet elsewhere.

i'm no ron paul fan, but i think a little open-mindedness on your part wouldn't be amiss here.
posted by modernnomad at 2:20 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

On the other, meeting people is such a crapshoot and it seems silly to disqualify people too easily.

When it comes to your deeply-held personal values, having a list of dealbreakers, and sticking to them, makes dating much less of a crapshoot.

Forming an emotional attachment to someone who is fundamentally at odds with your worldview is a recipe for unnecessary angst. Find a guy who syncs with you in the important areas; be flexible in the less values-laden areas (musical tastes, whatever). You don't need a clone, but you do want someone who meshes well with you (and your social group). Save the cross-political socializing for non-intimates.
posted by quivering_fantods at 2:27 PM on May 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

fingersandtoes, I actually wouldn't assume that just because Ron Paul is in the dude's profile that means that Ron Paul is "in his top 5 topics." For example, my profile contains the fact that I'm a vegetarian. I don't talk about my vegetarianism all that often, and I certainly don't consider it to be among the 5 most important things about me. However, I know that regardless of how strongly I feel about it, it's a dealbreaker for a lot of people, and I don't want to date someone who is going to give me a hard time about it. So I put in in my profile to encourage people who are reflexively anti-vegetarian to self-select out of dating me. Unless this guy's profile talks about little else except Ron Paul's politics, I'd be more likely to suspect that it's in there so that potential dates can have the exact conversations with themselves that we're helping mercredi have here, so that people who are anti-libertarian don't go out with this guy and then give him grief when they eventually learn about his beliefs.
posted by decathecting at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2012

On the other, meeting people is such a crapshoot and it seems silly to disqualify people too easily.

I disagree. To my perspective, in many cases people don't disqualify each other easily *enough* and end up wasting their time or getting themselves into terrible situations because of misguided guilt over being unfair or too picky, or worry over what they might be missing out on. First of all, there are billions of people on this Earth and I think the odds are against you missing out on a relationship with this person that it would be impossible to have with anyone else. Also, this isn't like disqualifying someone over being a close talker or having man hands. (Or woman hands, whatever). When you hear that someone is into Ron Paul, that to you is a warning sign of something. I think you should go with that. Not because I think you are objectively "right" or "wrong" in feeling that way, I just think people are always best served by not second-guessing those types of feelings, when they are deciding who to get involved with romantically.
posted by cairdeas at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

What do you mean, should you "date" this person? You haven't even met him, and from the sound of it you haven't even exchanged messages.

If you're serious about "rededicating" yourself to being social, be social and find out if he's nuts by communicating with him rather than inventing reasons not to like people based on some single element of a profile.

One of the problems with online dating is that people seem to feel compelled to make snap decisions on a minimum of information, and the kind of thing you're talking about is on par with meeting someone at a bar and writing them off because they lifted their beer with their left hand, or liking a TV show you find questionable. Of course, he could still be a Randroid lamer, but you're not going to find that out by asking us.
posted by rhizome at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2012

If you really want to find out about his views and his ability to articulate them, you can do this by emailing on the site -- before you decide whether you want to go on a date with him. This is an important practical factor that your question (and so a lot of the answers) glosses over.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it had come up casually on a first date or chance meeting that this guy is a Paul supporter, then you would have the resources to tell if you are potentially compatible with him despite the differing political views. But in the context of internet dating -- hell, social internet anything -- there's a decent chance that including this in his profile is tantamount to saying "ASK ME ABOUT RON PAUL. CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH? I DARE YOU."

I wouldn't go there.
posted by werkzeuger at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: How politically sophisticated is he?

I ask because I know someone, who was a close friend in college and my early 20s, whom I've noticed is a big Ron Paul supporter. We're not particularly close anymore, but that has nothing to do with politics, and I don't think he's someone who is lacking in empathy or is misogynistic. He is, however, not terribly sophisticated about politics, and likes Paul's positions on civil liberties, the drug war, the wars, and the Fed (I strongly disagree with Paul's views on the Fed, FWIW, but I can see how someone who doesn't know much about economics would be attracted to them).

I've encountered other people who have expressed positive views on Paul, and usually they are pox-on-both-houses types, perhaps a tad libertarianish, who don't know about the controversies surrounding him (or think they were misrepresented) and haven't thought through the logical implications of Paul's politics.

Frankly, I think most people just aren't that sophisticated about politics and you can't really assume their views say very much about how they behave personally. I've met plenty of staunch conservative Republicans who are very kind and thoughtful in their daily lives.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:56 PM on May 13, 2012

I disagree. To my perspective, in many cases people don't disqualify each other easily *enough* and end up wasting their time or getting themselves into terrible situations because of misguided guilt over being unfair or too picky, or worry over what they might be missing out on. First of all, there are billions of people on this Earth and I think the odds are against you missing out on a relationship with this person that it would be impossible to have with anyone else. Also, this isn't like disqualifying someone over being a close talker or having man hands. (Or woman hands, whatever). When you hear that someone is into Ron Paul, that to you is a warning sign of something. I think you should go with that. Not because I think you are objectively "right" or "wrong" in feeling that way, I just think people are always best served by not second-guessing those types of feelings, when they are deciding who to get involved with romantically.

I agree and I think that you need to go with your gut on this one. Everyone has political opinions, and if his views that you disagree with are so much a part of his personality that he features them prominently in a dating profile, it may be better to just move on.

However. I always dated people who had political views just like mine, until I decided on a fluke to go out with a guy who didn't agree with me on some things. He supported a candidate that I emphatically did not, and I was skeptical about our ability to get along or find common ground. I gave him a chance anyway. Turned out that he was an intelligent, sensitive guy with a wide-open mind and impressive capacity for critical thinking. Many engaging and interesting conversations later, his views are much closer to mine on a lot of things. Thankfully not everything, though, because he keeps me on my toes and we prompt each other to re-examine our views all the time. He's my husband now. I'm glad I took a chance on him.

This happy ending doesn't happen for every two people with differing views, though. Maybe it's worth feeling things out over one date to see how big a deal the Ron Paul thing really is to him in person. Maybe not. I still say to go with your gut.
posted by anonnymoose at 2:56 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, for the record, I favor the wide net on OKC. The match percentages didn't seem to say much beyond a certain point. Politics-as-dealbreaker is kind of a judgment call - albeit one that I disagree with - but I think you should definitely cast a wide net on OKC. Think of the site as enabling you to meet a whole bunch of people you otherwise wouldn't, thus increasing the odds of you meeting someone you actually like. The site's really not very good at matching people beyond a certain point, and that point falls well short of romantic or sexual interest.
posted by breakin' the law at 3:02 PM on May 13, 2012

Relevant post-script: I met my guy on OKC (or, as we say, "the old-fashioned way"). I agree with breakin' the law and favor the wide net.
posted by anonnymoose at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2012

I guess if James Carville and Mary Matlin can make it work, theoretically, anybody can.

My problem with the Ron Paul supporters that I know is that they (as has been said here) absolutely love a couple of his key positions, but conveniently overlook a lot of his inherent nastiness and weirdness.

They're also pretty damn intolerant of any opposing viewpoints.

Frankly, there are plenty of people out there who don't carry that kind of baggage, so I'd pass on this one.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:14 PM on May 13, 2012

Sorry. "Matlin" = "Matalin".
posted by imjustsaying at 3:17 PM on May 13, 2012

Political belief is a very poor proxy for either "analytical skills" or "empathy." There are very stupid people and very callous people in any given region of the political spectrum. And thoughtful and caring people can wind up with unexpected political perspectives -- due to personal experiences, idiosyncratic but nuanced priorities, youthful enthusiasms, and social relationships. To decree that anyone whose politics do not match yours must be stupid or evil, betrays an unattractive and almost certainly unjustified level of confidence in your own analytical skills. I say all this as someone who would never vote for Ron Paul and who believes his platform is unserious.
posted by foursentences at 3:18 PM on May 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

My problem with the Ron Paul supporters that I know is that they (as has been said here) absolutely love a couple of his key positions, but conveniently overlook a lot of his inherent nastiness and weirdness.

But isn't this true with basically any political candidate you can name? As was noted upthread, until two days ago Obama was anti-gay marriage. He advocates drone strikes that kill civilians. Does this mean anyone that says they are fan of Obama is an un-empathetic soul who sees Pakistani or Afghan lives as less worthy than American ones?

I just think it's way too reductive to assume a supporter of any candidate is therefore always like "X" without actually taking the time to get to know them.
posted by modernnomad at 3:22 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think that if politics are important to you, and your political convictions are different from his, and it's important to you to date someone who doesn't have radically different political convictions from you, then it's probably not a great idea for you and he to date.

On the other hand, I am quite religious and my husband is not only atheist but really strongly anti-religion, and we have had maybe one fight about it in our fifteen years together; it's just something we choose not to talk about because we have such profoundly different ideas on this sensitive topic.

So some people and some relationships can manage really profound disagreements on issues important to both parties, and some can't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:33 PM on May 13, 2012

You should. Most, not all, RP supporters are thoughtful and imaginative and emphathetic. They have to be, to support and defend a currently minority view these days.

(Let me note to you and mods that I am not necessarily one, but I am thoughtful and imaginative and empathetic too, imho.)

Normally I say "go with your gut" to most anything, but your question here implies that you don't know, your gut is unsure, so find out. (On quick preview, Andiril has nailed what I tried to say here.)

I have found some supporters of other candidates to be the most inflexible, closed-minded, simplistic, and foul-mouthed people I have ever met.

So, don't rule this guy out because he listed RP. Your dating candidate may be trying to avoid closed minded people of other views, who may follow a candidate based on the name of the party or on race or on Political Correctness and not from their own thought.

If anything it should be interesting and informative, for both of you. After a date or two, you'll feel what you need to know, as usual with a dating path.

Good luck!
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:41 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

One of my very best, very oldest friends, is so very into Ron Paul, and it means we can't discuss politics, because I seriously cannot deal. I am now married, but for me, when I was dating, I had to date a fellow liberal, because it's just so much WHO I AM. If your political beliefs are very important to you, and you are this worried about it now, I would look for, ahem, bluer pastures.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:02 PM on May 13, 2012

Please no. There are plenty of sane fish in the sea.
posted by special-k at 4:33 PM on May 13, 2012

You're asking if you're compatable with someone based on the single issue of not supporting a politician that they support?

I'm not sure he should date you.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:35 PM on May 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

The question here is not whether he supports Ron Paul, but two other questions:

1) Whether he's otherwise conservative, and
2) how much he supports Ron Paul. That rabbit hole goes really, really, really fucking deep.

Honestly I'd go with no, for several reasons (the racist newsletter thing, how readily certain Paul fans have brushed that aside, etc.) My answer isn't necessarily yours.
posted by dekathelon at 4:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

One little anecdote: Several years ago I met a woman I was attracted to, but when she let it slip that she's liking the Libertarian group she's in, my (Progressive) mind told me "Oh no! Don't touch her!" and I never saw her again. Fast forward to now, and I realize that my reaction was rather bigoted, and dating her a few times and getting to know her better would not have been so awful. And it would have given me an opportunity to meet her Libertarian friends and see what they are really like. Would something like this work for you?
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:57 PM on May 13, 2012

This can only be a personal decision.

We all have our absolute deal-breakers (I could never, ever become involved with a conservative or a religious believer, for example). Anyone who voted for Bush would be beyond the pale. As for Ayn Rand, anyone over about sixteen who hasn't seen through her nonsense would have to be cause for great concern.

But that's just me. My point is that there is nothing wrong with having deal breakers when it comes to something as important as a relationship. In fact, it shows you're thinking about what really matters to you: what you can and cannot tolerate.

As a final personal observation, what makes Ron Paul absolutely intolerable is that he is an evolution-denier. That's the kind of thing that's much, much too serious to overlook. Evolution-deniers are either staggering ignoramuses or else motivated by a thoroughly dishonest and disingenuous (and usually religiously-based) ulterior motive. To become involved with someone who can overlook such a thing is a major risk, I'd say.
posted by Decani at 4:59 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

As a Ron Paul supporter who is dating an extremely left leaning woman, I'd say you are being very narrow-minded. The again, if you are getting your info on Ron Paul here on meta-filter you are getting a horribly biased view because there is so much mis-information on this thread that it is mind boggling.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 5:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The question isn't about him, it's about you.

Yes, there are couples in which each is on the opposite side of a political spectrum. However, I could not be in such a couple, because to me politics is serious, life-altering business that is going to impact my future, and my children's and my parents', in vital ways, and so directly that I don't want to mess around with anyone who is comfortable with the policy implications of making different choices. I just don't want or need that in my life. Politics is not an intellectual exercise to me, not a fascinating you-say-tomato kind of banter. The real consequences for real people are too significant to me.

So no, that kind of oppositional energy doesn't belong in my private life. I'm perfectly comfortable with this. The question I would ask myself is not "is he datable?" but "would I date him?" the answer to which depends upon an honest understanding of myself : and I wouldn't date him. Why waste my time? I'm lucky to have found a partner who, though we don't agree on every issue, is someone who campaigns and fundraises side by side with me, and that feeling is kind of irreplaceable.

There are people who have a different relationship to politics. Maybe it's something they do related to their job and so the ups and downs are all part of the game; maybe it's fairly abstract to them; maybe the extent of their thinking is single-issue or just about who you vote for; maybe it's an ideological endeavor they care about emotionally but not one they're all that serious about making happen in the real world -- well, people like that might have an easier time with a different kind of partner. I wouldn't, though.

Self-knowledge is the first premise for selecting people to date. Maybe you are an open-minded sort who doesn't care all that much about politics in general and could live with this. In that case, mazel tov.

But if you're not, don't feel bad for one second disqualifying someone who is stating right out of the gate that they've got a really different sensibility than you do - and putting it right out there on their profile. Who do you think that person is looking to be with? Is it you?

If not, then don't worry about it at all. Just move on - you don't need to force yourself to be with people who don't have qualities you value. There are so very many other people. I'm trying, and I honestly can't imagine anyone on earth who could be so special, so empathetic, and so wonderful in every way that it would mean I could overlook a vast difference in political outlook. IT's just not worth the trouble. Since I don't think there's any "the One" out there, just the one you choose, then I don't think there's any need to go sewing buttons on custard pie.
posted by Miko at 5:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

I should also add that my left leaning girlfriend and I practically share a brain. We come to different conclusions because we started out from different places and have had different experiences, but it is astounding how closely aligned our thought patterns are.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 6:01 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like this guy interests you. I would just go out with him and see if you have fun. I'm sure there are plenty of examples of successful marriages between people with politically opposed beliefs, James Carvill and Mary Matalin for example. The potential ethical issues with objectivism would be problematic to me. However, I think many Ron Paul advocates truly believe 'objectivism' and free markets are best for everyone including the poor, that government intervening in markets always causes more problems than it fixes, and that acting out of self interest doesn't mean acting against others' interest. I guess. I don't know, maybe he can explain it to you. My boss is very conservative, but he is also very kind. I kind of like William F. Buckley Jr., Alan Greenspan, Milton Friedman, and other conservatives, though I probably wouldn't agree much with them. But what do I know? On the other hand I can't stand most people on Fox News, Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh, and many other conservatives in today's media.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2012

I'm staunchly liberal on a number of issues, and I'd probably like Ron Paul on some of the other issues if I didn't see his beliefs on sexism, abortion, and foreign politics as so crazypants as to push me away entirely from him. I also grew up in a household and city where discussing politics was absolutely the norm, so I wouldn't be at all fazed by someone's declaration of political leanings on their OKC profile. When I was on OKC I actually crossed guys off the potential list for not listing their political leanings...

But I have dated, twice!, Ron Paul supporters, and you know what? We had fantastic conversations and arguments about politics. I don't know if any of them would have worked out in the longer run, but life was the more interesting for being challenged, for me. If you would rather only date people whose political tastes seem to run parallel to yours, then do so: but just remember that everyone, Ron Paul fan or not, picks and chooses their political issues.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:25 PM on May 13, 2012

jetlagaddict makes me think of an important point: know why you're dating.

If you're dating just to be social and see where things go, then perhaps yes you could enjoy the debate aspects of being with someone like this. If dating is just for short-term having fun, dealbreakers matter less because you aren't filtering people according to their potential for the long haul.

But if you are dating to find a serious longterm partner, that usually means applying a different set of criteria, and the "not wasting time" idea becomes more important.
posted by Miko at 7:02 PM on May 13, 2012

I am surprised at how many people here would rule out even going on a date with someone because they said that they support Ron Paul and his effect on politics. I'm extremely liberal (like, Obama is quite conservative to me) and I'm married to someone who supports Ron Paul and his effect on politics (he's in the background right now going "are you telling her that your husband supports Ron Paul and he's one of the most liberal people you'll ever meet?"). And I can see where he's coming from, too. We think some of the things Ron Paul stands for are important, and we like the fact that he actually seems to believe the things he says and stick with his opinions instead of flip flopping around.

What's more important is where your potential date stands on the issues. He might think that Ron Paul's abortion stance or stance on dissolving the EPA is complete buffoonery, but still feel strongly enough about his other positions (like ending the ineffective War on Drugs) that he supports his candidacy. The way my husband explains it is along the lines of "Ron Paul is 100% wrong on some of the issues. But I still value that he is a candidate who stands for privacy, free speech, and individual liberties."
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Mod note: If your answer is just about Ron Paul and not about this question, please email it to the OP, this thread is for answers. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:58 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Instant "no" for me. Life's too short to experience more copies of that conversation.
posted by ead at 10:59 PM on May 13, 2012

I think of Ron Paul as sort of a cult figure. No amount of fact or reason will persuade a true believer that Ron Paul isn't some sort of infallible economic and political genius.

I don't necessarily blame someone for simply taking a liking to some of Ron Paul's political positions, but when they refuse to acknowledge some of his weak points or even debate the details.. I can't help but see that as a serious character flaw.

I am a liberal, but I am happy to debate and modulate my positions as I gain new information or understand new perspectives. There are many conservative positions I understand and agree with but perhaps disagree with the remedies.

But most Ron Paul supporters I've known just worship him like a god. I would find that problematic. However, if he can be a Ron Paul supporter while still acknowledging his faults or disagreeing with some of his positions.. you might find that acceptable.

Maybe you could ask him if there's anything he doesn't like about Ron Paul.
posted by j03 at 12:14 AM on May 14, 2012

Questions One and One Point Five - "No." and "Maybe, but looking for them seems exhausting"

Question Two - Be explicit about what you do and don't want in your OKC profile. Reckon it saves on hassle in the long run.

Were I sleeping with someone who was super into Ron Paul (which I doubt I would do), I'd want to be very, very clear on their positions on abortion and birth control. Typically, all that noise about liberty falls apart when you ask a male Paul fan if a woman ought to enjoy a little liberty in the use of her own uterus. My roommate was in just this situation earlier in the year and for her, knowing that the fella didn't respect her right to choose was rightfully a dealbreaker.
posted by EatTheWeek at 12:55 AM on May 14, 2012

Two of my very good friends are massive Ron Paul supporters. Both of them are devout Muslims, one is Indian and the other Sri Lankan (go figure). I happen to think that both of them are extremely deluded in their political inclinations; and yes, they do consider him as a quasi political messiah of sorts.

I, however, have had no issues in hanging out with them; in fact, I often look forward to having a cuppa with them on lazy Saturday afternoons. They're decent people with whom I share a lot of interests, including an interest in political debate; I, as well as they, do look forward to exchanging views on why the gold standard sucks or why the end is nigh for Euro-zone and so on.

YMMV with romantic interests obviously.
posted by the cydonian at 2:33 AM on May 14, 2012

Here's the thing about Ron Paul, a lot of his arguments make sense, and a lot of them are bat shit crazy. The main thing he has going for him (keep in mind I am not a supporter, nor do I pay a lot of attention to him, this is based purely on the things I have noticed as a democrat), is that he seems fairly consistent in his arguments, and they seem somewhat thought out. Most of the arguments I hear from other republican candidates seem to be either towing the party line without any thought behind it, or just don't make any sense whatsoever. Ron Paul, even when making arguments I don't agree with, seems to have actually thought about them and can give an answer as to why he things that way.

To me, support of Ron Paul is not a bad thing at all, and would be a great conversation starter. If the other person can give you reasons why they support Ron Paul that make sense and seem rational, they are probably a rational person who has a slightly different view than you do. If they seem like they drank the Ron Paul Kool-Aid and are just kind of crazy about it, that is a good sign for you to cut and run. Luckily, politics gets people very heated and willing to talk, so this should be an easy way to get to know someone in one date, rather than finding out after weeks or months that they are crazy when the elections start happening.
posted by markblasco at 7:51 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

You know, I want to say no here, that you shouldn't go out with a Ron Paul supporter. Then I think about my amazing, wonderful partner who I met on Match yet almost turned down because of something on his profile - his religious beliefs. I'm a staunch atheist, and my partner is a Christian whose beliefs are important to him. Although I found him extremely appealing in every way apart from this, I very nearly closed the tab on him when I read this statement on his profile. Then I thought, forget it, the dating pool where I am is so teeny tiny that I might as well at least email this guy and see what he's got to say for himself.

The rest, as they say, is history. I now can't imagine my life without my partner and my only fear about our relationship is what if he kicks it before I do. He's a Christian, yes, but not the way I pictured him from the bitchy Sunday school gossipy crowd that I grew up around. Instead he's a very moral person who is completely trustworthy, selfless to a fault and a great champion of the underdog. And he goes to church on Sunday so I get the house to myself for a couple of hours each weekend to do whatever I like, which is great.

So yeah, you might as well at least email the Ron Paul guy. There's something that draws you to him enough to post this question. I can sit here and think to myself, "there's no way I'd date a Ron Paul supporter," but I also never saw myself with a church-goer, so who am I to sit here and judge.
posted by hazyjane at 9:56 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's important to find out "why". If it's solely on foreign policy it might be OK.
posted by the foreground at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

- Hmm, too harsh? Maybe. I'd say it's a red flag, but not a dealbreaker (there are, however, individual Ron Paul positions that, for me at least, would be total dealbreakers). The thing is, though, that not all Paul supporters necessarily support all of his positions (or are even aware of all of them).

- Wide net.
posted by box at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2012

I find it odd that anyone would use the word "empathetic" in any discussion of Ayn Rand, unless it's to describe what she was not. Ron Paul is a known Rand apologist.

That said, when I was in my 20s, I knew plenty of people (some of whom were people to whom I was very attracted) who were objectivists. Now that I'm in my 40s, it turns out that many of those people grew out of it, and many did not.

Go ahead and pursue this one, if you can stand the idea of him never moving past libertarianism (since that seems to be the problem you have with him). Even if it doesn't work out, maybe he has lots of nice friends you can date later.
posted by Rula Lenska at 1:57 AM on May 23, 2012

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