Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Given Liberty, Given Death

Ralph Smeed, libertarian lion of Caldwell, Idaho, is dead of cancer at 88. For those unfamiliar with him, which is to say just about anyone reading this that hasn't lived in Caldwell, his website's bio is a good enough primer. It will also give you a flavor of his political character, though it neglects certain details like Smeed's veneration of the cultist Sun Myung Moon or the fact that H.L. Mencken, to whom Smeed compares himself, was a strident atheist.

I and most other students of the College of Idaho only ever knew Smeed as the owner of a billboard just off the freeway, which he used to express anti-statist sentiments like this:

A gallery can also be found on the Reader Board section of Smeed's website.
Of a more general political interest is Ron Paul's familiarity with Smeed and the board, which he has "always applauded."

The board went garishly electronic a year-and-a-half ago or so, and ever since Obama took office it's amounted to a long line of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin endorsements and animated American flags. Smeed and his board were more or less a joke to the students, but this was something of an underestimation; as mentor to current Idaho governor Butch Otter, Ralph Smeed was, at the very least, an influential joke.

No comments:

Post a Comment