Rand Paul: The True Believer

By Bill Maher

A lot has been said about Rand Paul, but not enough about the emerging evidence that he has a relationship with truth that is extremely casual, even by political standards. This fact is hidden by the shining intensity of Paul's libertarian-flavored "purity," but that purity is also the problem: This man will not let facts get in the way of his beliefs.

Last week, in an attempt to downplay the "war on women" charge, Paul declared that women had "won" the war. He cited stats to illustrate how successful women are. I'll include the reality in parentheses:

"I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85 percent of the young people there are women (close, it's around 80%). In law school, 60 percent are women (47%); in med school, 55 percent (also 47%)." 

If Paul was referring to Cornell only, he was actually even farther off.

That same day, in making a point about Solyndra and the folly of government investment, Paul stated that "9 out of 10 businesses fail." Once again, that's not even remotely true. According to Fackcheck.org, "A 2002 study found that, after four years, one-third of new businesses closed under "unsuccessful" circumstances...And government data show that almost one-half of new businesses last beyond five years and about one-third of them continue operating after 10 years."

The problem isn't that Rand Paul is so far off, it's that he doesn't seem to really give a shit about facts. He's one of those true believers who starts from a position of understanding Deeper Truths about the world, and actual information only exists as a tool for confirmation. His beliefs are exactly like religion - they can't be shaken by facts, only reinforced. That's the hubris that makes him so casual about getting things wrong, or getting caught plagiarizing - a million minor sins against honesty can be shrugged off when you're serving a larger principle.