Don’t Drink the Ron-Aid
Ron Paul, the Libertarian leaning Congressman from Texas, will not get this Libertarian’s vote for President.
This probably comes as a surprise. Given the legions of Ron Paul fans, which appear poised to capture the Iowa caucus for their hero tomorrow, that’s understandable. But there are very good reasons I can’t support Dr. Paul in his Presidential bid.
For starters, although I have no personal knowledge as to whether or not he is a closet racist, there’s been enough written about the subject to give me pause. There are the newsletters authored in his name during the late 80’s and early 90’s. There is a litany of anti-Jewish statements made throughout his long tenure in politics. There’s his curious refusal to disavow the support he’s receiving from David Duke, various Ku Klux Klan factions and the American Nazi Party. If Dr. Paul were a true libertarian, he would be justified in supporting those groups right to spew their hate, as I do. But as I and every other Libertarian I know does, he would also condemn such speech for what it is: not fit for human consumption, except for the buffoons who speak it. To date, Ron Paul has yet to so, although he has taken significant sums of money from those baboons.
And about those newsletters: I am willing to give Dr. Paul the benefit of the doubt that the hateful passages in them were ghost written. However, if you’re going to be President of the United States, you need either an incredibly meticulous attention to detail or to have someone on your staff who does. If, as he has claimed, he was unaware of what was published in his name until confronted with them in 1996, then that shows a lack of oversight that is completely unacceptable in the nation’s Chief Executive. If he was aware of what was being disseminated in his name, but took no action to stop it – which seems more likely – then that shows the type of poor judgment and moral character that should never be allowed into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After all, those newsletters brought in millions for Paul. It speaks to Dr. Paul’s priorities. Combined with those contributions from the hate groups, it appears Dr. Paul is more concerned with personal profit than dispelling the worst racial and ethnic stereotypes our society has to offer.
There is no doubt that Congressman Paul’s devotion to the cause of personal liberty is real. In the year of the ideological candidate, Dr. Paul is easily the most ideological of them all. Listening to his stump speech (which has only been slightly modified from his original Presidential run in 1988), you get the impression that this is a man who firmly believes what he says. In fact, that unwavering adherence to his ideals is partly responsible for the allegiance his candidacy creates among his followers. While I also support the ideal of personal freedom, the nation as a whole is not ready for the other side of the coin: personal responsibility. If you doubt that, then look no further than the past year. The fights we’ve had over budget priorities; the Occupy movement; these point to a nation still enthralled with Big Government over the hazards of personal freedom and responsibility. Forcing that on the country will lead to blood on the streets. I believe the long-term solution for the country is to return to the Libertarian government we were founded on; I’m pragmatic enough to understand that undoing 100 years of government creep needs to be undone incrementally. If your’e certain I’m wrong, end Social Security tomorrow and watch what happens. Pragmatism is not a Paul strong suit, at least when it comes to governing (it is, of course, when it comes accepting those infernal campaign donations).
That lack of pragmatism is particularly evident in his proposed foreign policy – or perhaps lack of a foreign policy. It’s understandable that a nation that has been at war for 43 of the past 50 years would grow tired of foreign entanglements. But we cannot renounce our international obligations, pack up and come home without plunging the world into utter chaos. One truism has ruled the world since the dawn of civilization: power abhors a vacuum. In a world that is increasingly interdependent, someone had to provide the glue that keeps humanity from entering into a war over resources and economies that would incinerate the globe. Whether or not we like it, absenting ourselves from the world stage would result in just that. After World War II, the world was left with two superpowers. With the dissolution of the Soviet Empire, only the USA remains. The treaties, alliances and trade we’ve developed in the past 70 years are all focused on keeping us prosperous. Abandoning them now would be cataclysmic at best.
And finally, there are is cult of personality that is propelling the Ron Paul candidacy. Fanatical to the core, these people scare me far more than Ron Paul ever will. The world has seen other leaders come to power whose only qualification was the ability to inspire slavish devotion from their followers: Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Napoleon, Julius Caesar. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks those results were positive. Less extreme, but much more recent, we have the current President – whose tenure thus far has been a disappointment to his followers but about what the rest of us expected.
RON PAUL SUPPORTERS: If you’re looking for a Libertarian who is pragmatic enough to actually accomplish something without alienating 80% of your fellow human beings, look to Gary Johnson. Abandoning Ron Paul would be the smartest decision you’ve made.