- They assert that life would be better without the federal oversight, but they never provide any data to back up the contention. Their belief is based on a faith and hope, not data. This isn't unusual in politics, but Paul supporters tend to think of themselves as more intelligent, so pointing this out galls them.
- Since they don't have an answer when you point out that their politics are based on faith, they don't come back with any answer. The conversation is over. They probably move on to someone who won't ask any hard questions.
- There's a strong strain of nostalgia for times before the federal government got so large (either before the first federal income tax, before the New Deal, or before Teddy Roosevelt). I definitely have sympathy for this longing for a time when a brave person or family could go to the frontier and homestead without farming regulations, water regulations, estimated tax payments, housing standards, gun permits and waiting periods, etc. But getting rid of government won't bring back that period. We'd still be the more crowded country we are now.
Maybe you don't try to prevent the bad. You accept both the good and the bad that freedom and liberty bring. Maybe Ron Paul supporters shouldn't say it would be much better under these policies (more accurately, lack of policies), but it would be freer. That isn't the choice our society made before, but it's worth looking at our decisions again.
Coming to your street soon...
Update 10/19/11. Here's a highlight from the comments. Nick points out that that personal autonomy (ie., freedom) is the fundamental ideal for Paul. That prompted me to see him as a fundamentalist, which means he won't make decisions on a rationalist basis. He's also somewhat utopian, believing (or proclaiming) that a return to his view of constitutionalism will cure many of the problems in this country. In either case, he never acknowledges the possible drawbacks to his policies. Reality isn't allowed to impinge on his ideal world. It's really quite bizarre--how he'll call out the failures of others, but never think he or his firm beliefs could lead to any failures.