Bill Weld, 2016 Libertarian Candidate for the U.S. Vice Presidency

After years of following Weld’s political career, there is only one thing about him I’m sure of: He regards politics as a form of intellectual entertainment, and nothing he says on the subject should be mistaken for conviction. . . .

There is no point seeking the philosophical thread that connects [his] meanderings. Weld has no fixed political or electoral outlook; he isn’t consistently conservative or liberal, and he’s certainly no diehard Republican. He has claimed since 2016 to be “Libertarian for life,” raising money, endorsing candidates, and assuring Libertarian Party leaders: “I’m going to stay L.P.” Yet if recent news reports are accurate, Weld is telling confidants that he might challenge Trump in the Republican primaries. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. 

A Weld run would enliven the 2020 campaign with erudition and quirky wit. That alone might be reason to hope he jumps in. Remember, however, that when it comes to politics, Weld will say and do just about anything to keep from being bored. He’s not likely to take a Weld candidacy too seriously. We shouldn’t, either.

Jeff Jacoby, “Bill Weld’s true north is that he has no true north,” Boston Globe (January 31, 2019)

But maybe “true north” isn’t the right metaphor…

The magnetic north pole moves towards Russia!

The north magnetic pole is restless.

Distinct from the geographic North Pole, where all the lines of longitude meet at the top of the world, the magnetic pole is the point that a compass recognizes as north. At the moment, it’s located four degrees south of the geographic North Pole, which lies in the Arctic Ocean at 90 degrees north. 

But that wasn’t always the case.

In the mid-19th century, the north magnetic pole floated much further south, roaming around Canada. For the past 150 years, however, the pole has been sprinting away from Canada and toward Siberia.

Shannon Hall, “The North Magnetic Pole’s Mysterious Journey Across the Arctic,” The
New York Times
(February 4, 2019)


Bill Weld, like most politicians, is attuned to the attractions of the masses and of the moment and of the most “meaningful” memes. But we are going through an ideological pole shift right now. So, if his moral compass has gone wild, and he cannot be trusted to remain true, that may be because he is most sensitive to the great ideological shift.

That doesn’t make him a leader, of course. It just explains his gyrations, especially near anomalies.

And nothing is more anomalous than libertarianism. Not even Trump.

Oh, and also: the Democrats are, like our planet’s magnetic north, speeding towards Russia.

My old-fashioned compasses. I have others.

twv


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