The World According to Ron Paul – Part 1

by on December 9, 2011 · 56 comments

in American Empire, Election, Politics, Popular

Editor’s Note: Andy Cohen and Doug Porter have collaborated on a four-part series about GOP Presidential contender Ron Paul that begins today in the OB Rag.  We’ll be taking a close look at the Congressman’s visions with regard to foreign and domestic policy, his economic ideas and provide a historical context of what his candidacy means.

We have agreed to collaborate on this series because we see increasing numbers of young people drawn towards Ron Paul’s candidacy and would like to expose what we see is a false choice for dealing with the economic and political crises that face our country.  Not everything about Congressman Paul is bad, but his elevation to near Rock Star status amongst certain disaffected voters is, we think, a very bad thing for this country.

For those of you reaching for your keyboards to reflexively type defensive tomes, we strongly suggest that you read our policy on commenting (it’s only unconstitutional when the government suppresses speech) and understand that nature of this website is that we have a point of view.  We’ve seen what happens on other sites that are critical of Ron Paul—anti-Semitic remarks, personal attacks and denial of service attacks aimed at silencing those voices.  We won’t stand for that here. It’s our sandbox, and that is the way it is.  You are, by the way, welcome to disagree with us and express your disagreements here. Just play nice. Without further ado, here’s part one.

A Foreign Policy Overview

Congressman Paul sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and, unlike some of his competitors for the GOP nomination, has actually traveled abroad on non-junket and non-vacation trips. His non-interventionist and empire eschewing stances have made him persona non-grata amongst fellow Republicans, and his willingness to concede that there might be a connection between U.S. Foreign Policy and extremist Islamic groups anger engenders an almost neo-Stalinist response in Party circles, whereby he is airbrushed out of the “family” portrait on a regular basis. Witness the 89 seconds of air-time he got during the GOP’s foreign policy debate in South Carolina.

While some in the mainstream media call Paul a “Tea Party isolationist”, his foreign policy stances have in fact made him much more popular with some disaffected voters on the other end of the spectrum—young people with newly cultivated anti-war sensibilities.  After all, the Congressman is for putting an immediate stop to (current or future) U.S. involvement in ground wars in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan/Pakistan. He advocates dismantling the world-wide network of U.S. military facilities in over 170 countries, saying “We were never given the authority to be the policemen of the world.”

Paul’s position that the United States should stay neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with his inclusion of Israel in his pledge to eliminate most foreign aid also alienates him from groups supportive of the Jewish state.  His seeming “blind-spot” regarding the “special” relationships between the military forces of the U.S. and Israel and its corresponding set of associations on the corporate level never ceases to amaze me.  Does he really think that complex situation can be resolved by fiat?  Does he really think the American people will ever elect a Congress that wouldn’t vote for aid to Israel?  Pigs will be declared Kosher before that ever happens—just follow the money.

Ron Paul’s top priority for National Security is securing the borders of the United States. While he admits to being troubled by the imagery of barbed wire fences with machine guns on the basis of these barriers being used to keep God-fearing Americans who want to flee the ever growing oppressive nature of the State penned in, his fear of immigrants and their anchor babies is greater.

When it comes to involvement in international organizations, you can count of Ron Paul’s opposition. Whether it’s berating the United Nations for wanting to disarm gun-totin’ Americans (as seen in this John Birch Society video) or using the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn to denounce the IMF (“These are the kinds of people who are running the IMF.”) you can bet the farm that Paul sees those groups as threats to American sovereignty.  While there are plenty of things not to like about the IMF in particular, like the fact that it’s a foreign policy tool of the corporatocracy, Paul’s critiques are more based on a 19th century world-view.

And that perception gets us to the nut of the problem about Congressman Paul’s foreign policy stances (actually all of his positions): they are based upon the premise that the world needs to move itself back 150 years or so, and everything will be okay.  That’s impractical, of course, which makes his positions all the more alluring to the naive or those ignorant of economic and political history.  Even if we wanted to “turn the clock back”, the solutions and supposed realities of the days of old would crumble in the face of the demands of a world with six billion mouths to feed, a world that has seen horrific conflicts that have erased entire cultures and nationalities, and, most of all, a world whose economic powers are no longer relevant to its political boundaries.

Civilization is a measure of what societies become in the face of adversity.  On this planet we have progressed through many stages of civilization, starting out with clans of hunter-gatherers, moving into empires ruled by individuals who claimed a special relationship with higher spiritual powers, and, lately, the mechanisms of the nation-state.  Each of these stages involved changes in the definition of individual sovereignty that seemed necessary for some greater good.

Ron Paul’s solution to our contemporary woes is to empower Social Darwinism, the struggle and survival of the fittest sans most of the trappings of the State that creates a utopian society whereby the individual and their choices drive the social order.  Implicit in this approach is that the collateral damage consisting of the denigration or destruction of those “less fit” individuals as acceptable.  This leads us down the primrose path of subjugation of those deemed less human. It displays an extraordinary willingness to overlook the cruelty and horrors of our past as a people. Think slavery. Think Jim Crow. Think about the days when women were the “weaker sex”. Think of how migrant workers were treated. Think about the thousands of American soldiers that were sickened/died during the Spanish-American War thanks to an unscrupulous company that sold tainted tinned meat to the Army.

All this is not to say that Ron Paul’s followers are incorrect in their perceptions about the dysfunctionality of government or the sense that “We The People” aren’t doing very well these days.  But no society anywhere has ever moved forward by moving backwards. And building a movement for “change” or “rEvolution” behind one person has an equally bad track record.

Up Next: Ron Paul’s Domestic Approach

avatar Josh December 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

“It displays an extraordinary willingness to overlook the cruelty and horrors of our past as a people. Think slavery. Think Jim Crow. Think about the days when women were the “weaker sex”. Think of how migrant workers were treated. Think about the thousands of American soldiers that were sickened/died during the Spanish-American War thanks to an unscrupulous company that sold tainted tinned meat to the Army.” /QUOTE

These issues weren’t solved by government, they were solved by education and awakening of the people in their way of thinking.

What store today would ban black people? 1? maybe 5 in the whole united states? and then they would get criticized in the free market of ideas and media.

And THAT is where social change comes from, not from the hand of government that is so easily corrupted by corporations looking to profit themselves and restrict their competition.

Don’t be stupid.

avatar Sam Geoghegan December 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Plus, by all accounts, guys like Lincoln had the ‘government saved us’ narrative thrust upon him way after his time. The whole slavery argument promulgated by progressives is a red herring. The guy was a tyrant and a racist and couldn’t have cared less about slaves. It was in fact the inefficiency of manual labour that led to the outmoding of slaves in the north, i.e. the market.

Jim Crow? Hmmm, funny how government stepped in at the apex of the civil rights movement but didn’t give a shit before.
I smell opportunity.

avatar Patrick Jones December 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I agree with Josh. The government didn’t solve the issues of slavery, Jim Crow laws, Women as weaker, migrant workers… they created the problems in the first place.

avatar lester December 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

“On this planet we have progressed through many stages of civilization, starting out with clans of hunter-gatherers, moving into empires ruled by individuals who claimed a special relationship with higher spiritual powers, and, lately, the mechanisms of the nation-state. Each ”

I would disagree with this characterization of progress. People worshipped kings, they lived their lives in fear of them and under their control as you described and we had communism and fascism in the 20th century.

In betweem these were the founding of the United States as well as eras like the golden age of islam, in both cases these peoples were much more free than communists or even those in many modern democracies.

So, It hasn’t been a gradual move to statism from primitivism. Check out Rose Wilder Lanes “The Discovery of Freedom” sometime if you get the chance.

“Think Jim Crow. ” laws handed down by the state.

“Think about the thousands of American soldiers that were sickened/died during the Spanish-American War thanks to an unscrupulous company that sold tainted tinned meat to the Army.

think of who started the war, the state.

“they are based upon the premise that the world needs to move itself back 150 years or so, and everything will be okay. ”

If that were true he would be really popular with very old and stodgy people. Instead he’s big with young people, particularly the more forward thinking ones.

avatar Dave December 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Love the ad next to the article (Hate Ron Paul? Then you must love big government).

avatar FormerRepublican December 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm

This article is a joke.

avatar Hank December 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I agree. I’m no hard-line Republican, but history shows time and time again that freer markets make for a more prosperous society. If you don’t believe me, go look at Hong Kong. Some regulations are fine, but today’s federal regulations are written by big corporations for their own gain. We need a renewed emphasis on limiting federal power and encouraging decisions to be made in the realm of state & local government, where individuals can challenge or modify laws.

Leftists / statists need to realize that a federal government that is capable of enforcing the sort of ‘social betterment influence’ they desire will, over time, become capable of detaining us indefinitely and fighting unlimited wars. This is a history lesson we don’t want to learn.

avatar DieselChadron December 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I agree too. this idea that Ron Paul is pushing ideas from 150 years ago seems to be pervasive to a certain degree. however, it is wrong. Ron Paul recognizes that the liquidity floating around the world right now is SUBSTANTIALLY under-collateralized. the liquidity has created the illusion of prosperity – but things are starting to crumble. why do you think the fed/eu/obama admin/etc are freaking out every day? this ‘progressive’ idea of credit has gotten us in so much trouble. you have to give Ron Paul at least a little credit for predicting the mess in the first place. (also, he bought gold in ’71 for $35/ounce. he can’t be that dumb)

avatar Your a Neocon December 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

You my friend are a neo-con. You are wanting to send America’s bravest men and women to fight undeclared wars. Paul is not anti war, but simply anti-undeclared war. There is a big difference. Wake up, grow up and realize these UNDECALRED wars have added $4,000,000,000,000 dollars to our $15,000,000,000,000 national debt. Our war debt is pittance in comparison to all of the european debt. Our troops will come home wheather you like it or not. The question is, will they come home because we are smart enough to bring them home and let other countries pay for their own security, and not the US taxpayer, or will they come home because we went broke.

avatar doug porter December 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

ooohhhh. I’m a neo-con. Ouch! That name-calling hurts so much! I disagree with Ron Paul’s philosophy, not with the actions he proposes in this area.

avatar Brian December 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

You are not denying the neocon title so you must be a republican? I thought for sure I was reading a far left article.

avatar Andrew December 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

It seems it is just about your point of view. To me Ron’s message is one that moves us forward, not backward. He wants to use principles from 150 years ago in a modern way. You make the fallacious connection between principle and policy. The world is different, the principles don’t have to be. He believes in fighting terrorist organizations in a more effective manner than large ground campaigns that waste resources and American lives.

Peace isn’t crazy, it just isn’t.

These international organizations you seems to taut as relavent are filled with unelected technocrates, who didctate to American’s policy. this is essentially undemocratic, and un-American. The poeple want the power back, yet you seem to think that him being correct on the concentration of power away from the people is insignificant.

Also you are arguing against the past, which well, is the past. These arguments cannot be applied because you have never seen a Paul presidency, nor has anyone. You do not know Ron Paul personally and your opinion is based on an aggrigate of media coverage of a Man, rather than an education in the philosophies from which he generates his ideas.

The social darwinism argument is also a gross misrepresentation of the good doctor. Society will not stand for creating a world were people are left to die in the streets, and Ron Paul as president wouldn’t stop anyone from helping people. NGO’s, other charitable organizations, and even congress would be allowed to, and could create programs like the ones we have today (most liekly more effective ones) under an RP presidency. Ron Paul would not dictate his policy to the people he would allow the people to create the policy and offer advice.

People have grown over 150 years social policy has changed; however, the core principles that create a great America have been eroded. Ron Paul has re-energized those principles, and though you can attempt to argue against them based on the social ocnstructs they created in the past the argument is just wrong. The people today are smarter and more efficent in every way if we only embraced these core principles the possibilities we can create are endless.

Nice attempt at a hit piece, I look foward to the next. Just remember we aren’t buying the status quo to scared to change. Your policies have failed ours have never been attempted. It’s up to America to decide, the policies that we know have failed, or gambel on something that might just work.

avatar sabronco December 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

That was one of the best retorts I have ever read! You are good!
Ron Paul all the way!

avatar bobthebob December 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Yes, I *love* the take on the EVILS of darwin. He was a scientist that figured out that humans are animals. But this article assumes that to be “animal” is to be evil. What a statement.

Anyway, people have the ability to help others, and willingly do so everyday.

I have come to think that the Ron Paultards as some say, are the only bunch in America not living in some sort of government/media organized “world of fear.” America has got to come to terms with this, or else we will all be turned into Europeans for our collective “own good.” We also won’t have a hope in hell trying to compete with anyone.

Basically, for all his oddities, we need old man Paul to slap us in the face and wake up to the fact that we are all important and able people! Able to deal with whatever! And if that means taking care of a local “terrorist” (as if they were a problem) so be it. Just give me back my money, and I’ll be fine… while helping others in a free society! It’s possible Cohen and Porter.

avatar bobthebob December 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

By the way, the free thinkers are with Paul, and to this end, free thinking is what America (even being human) is all about.

It may take 10 years for a Paulite to be elected, but if it doesn’t, where will we be?

avatar MattW December 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Well said. The article makes wild jumps to conclusions that simply are are false. That is sad. I keep looking for good, valid arguments against Dr. Paul and haven’t found one yet. The start of this article sounds like it is going to be one, but then it just falls onto really bad knowledge of historical events and the whole hing just falls apart. Thanks for this rebuttal.

avatar Wally B December 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Not as bad as I expected based on the foreword. That said, the base of your argument, that we’ll fall into a situation where the have’s impose their will on the have not’s just isn’t true. No one would be subjected to the will of another because the power in one individual wouldn’t exist and the government would exist almost solely to protect EVERY individuals rights and freedoms. Which includes the freedom to make the right choice and more importantly, the wrong choice.

avatar Paltrow Bock December 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

There just is not much here to discuss. Your objections to Paul are strange and you insert premises without any evidence that those premises are true. 1.) Tell me why Israel is different and why since it has more weaponry than the rest of the middle east combined it cannot defend itself? Is American obligated to send aid to Israel forever and ever… amen? If you think his position is wrong you need to offer more than:…”doesnt Paul get it?” 2.) You seem to imply that the nation-state is the next level of human development beyond religion and that we are more evolved who give our sovereignty to the state. This is a fairly radical assertion and it troubles me that you think this “truth” allows the state to subjugate the individual by some sort of natural law. 3.)The IMF is a topic that people have written many books about. There is great disagreement about it’s value. You may want to read about it rather than just accepting that any call for change is crazy and impractical. 4.) Calling Pauls ideas social darwinism is also not true. Paul advocates for a rule of law and a constitutional government with a bill of rights that means something. No-one has Ron Paul’s credibility on civil rights. Government never fixes social issues. Culture does. And it does it much better without government.

I guess like most liberals you are left to defend the status quo. This seems more and more to be the position I find all of my liberal counterparts in. I applaud you for not trying to hide this fact. Most try to. You come right out and tell us that things are pretty good and that this country is right on track. I disagree.

avatar Patrick Jones December 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Well written! I was in the military and cannot, for the life of me, remember the pledge to defend the state of Israel included in the pledge I recited and held true. I love the people that shout the loudest for putting our men and women in harms way, yet never picked up a rifle and stood a post.

avatar Barry Lyndon December 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Just thought I’d add my two cents if I may. I think to say that Ron Paul supports “social darwinism” is to totally miss the point of his actual message. “Social darwinism” is what happens when a small elite can use the machinary of politics and amass power over the individual lives of hundreds of millions of people. Paul wants to neutralize that power by giving freedom back to the people and the market, and to end the corruption of the Fed and institute a monetary policy that works for everyone, not just the big banks. In other words, he supports following the Constitution of the United States. To be against Paul’s philosophy of limited government and individual liberties is to be against the constitution, and therefore America.

“No society has ever moved forward by moving backward.”

Arguably the most progressive movement in history, the Rennaissance, was chiefly inspired by ancient Greek and Roman culture. Sometimes to move forward you have to look back. Unfortunately there is a peculiar breed of 21st century arrogance which thinks that we are all somehow seperate- more enlightened- than the rest of history, when in fact if you care to research the sort of thinkers, statesmen and novelists of those days an entirely different picture would emerge. This desire to reinvent the wheel it what is wrong with modern society. I think it’s high time we looked back a couple of hundred years to bring forward our better history. I would rather follow the sagacity of an 18/19th century genius like Thomas Jefferson, than the vapid, arrogant pundits and twitterheads of today.

As for supporting US sovereignty, globalism is what has caused this crisis to become so bad. When everything is so interlinked, when one link fails the whole thing falls down. Remember the phrase about “too many eggs in one basket”? Localism is far better because it empowers people, and liberty tends to work in the direction of the local level. Globetrotting bureacracies like the IMF and the UN are fundamentally inconsistent with localized democracy and the nation-state. And believe me, if you want to help the environment, a globalized economy would be disastrous. Think of all the fossils fuels caused by billions of people whizzing all around the globe on whims! Enlightened nationalism is the way to go.

avatar Ryan K. December 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Well said!

avatar Elliott Fox December 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

At the risk of sounding like on of the obsessed youths that you have described above, I’d like to offer comment in defense of Paul’s philosophy from the perspective of a 3rd year undergrad. This article gives the impression of having a more realistic view of the world and what would really happen were the government’s role minimized. According to Mr. Porter, Paul’s “solution to our contemporary woes is to empower Social Darwinism, the struggle and survival of the fittest sans most of the trappings of the State that creates a utopian society whereby the individual and their choices drive the social order” This perception of free society is deficient, and from the perspective of one who is currently immersed in ancient and modern political philosophy, a bit naive. Advocates of the free-market do not believe in utopian society, but we do recognize that humans have the capability to learn and make privately-concerned decisions that have aggregate benefits. Porter’s views represent a tired and long-defeated pessimistic view of human nature. Read some Adam Smith, check up on experimental economics, read anything besides Paul Krugman at this point. If you still don’t buy in on philosophical basis, then please do for the sake of this country’s fiscal future. This article gives me the impression of being deliberately misleading.

avatar Patrick Jones December 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Well said.

avatar Ryan December 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm

You claim Ron Paul wants to “move us back 150 years” but don’t cite any evidence for this. You then proceed to spook your readers with tales of racism and sexism, both of which Ron Paul vehemently opposes.

I applaud your efforts to be even-handed on this, but you fall far short of the mark and ought to spend a little more time researching the foundations of Paul’s ideas. He has written enough books on his own views that a “four-part series” without a reference to anything he has actually said other than a JBS video that quotes him out of context is not much of an expose’.

avatar Ryan K. December 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Not quite sure I understand your argument so far. You’re saying that because Paul is basing his principles on the Constitution, he wants to turn back the clock and reverse our progress? Before your assertions can hold any weight, there needs to be a discussion about what your intepretation of progress is. There are assumptions being made about Paul’s philosophy that have been made many, many times before — namely, that instituting his ideals would reverse progress and that government is required to allow progress to take place. How can you prove this? And why is his way — even if not totally ideal — any worse than the corrupt, war-mongering, liberty-stripping federal government that has been in place for several decades? But, first, tell me about your idea of progress and how the government played a role in it.

avatar Doctor K December 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Well, so let me understand this correctly. What you are kind of saying with this article and the tone that I hear is that Ron Paul is naive in thinking we can just pull away from our military complex type of foreign policy. As well, when you say that noone will embrace his voew on allowing Israel to be more independent, you are saying follow the money? Are you saying that Jewish Americans have power because of their monetary influence. Although I have no problem with Israel and understand the Jewish people have had many atrocities dealt to them, it does not mean that if someone says we should butt out, then they are wrong or anit-semetic (not that anyone in this article said that).
If Israel needs help, we vote in congress to declare war on their enemies and help. The constitution is there to protect us.
The truth is that the USA just tries to police everyone and you can see we are broke (the middle and lower class especially affected), the military war mongerers profit large, congress is all doing okay, the central bankers are doing better than ever and American people are suffering. We are living in corporatocracy, we the people is fading. Ron Paul wants to bring it back. So yes, stop all foreign aid, stop the war steering constantly, and bring back power to the people, make governement accountable, give back our liberties. Unitl we all demand that and get it, we are lost. This article is a lame attempt at saying, yeah things need to change but pulling our military away from policing the world is naive. I think we need foward thinkers not nay sayers.

avatar Aaron Korn December 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

“Ron Paul’s top priority for National Security is securing the borders of the United States. While he admits to being troubled by the imagery of barbed wire fences with machine guns on the basis of these barriers being used to keep God-fearing Americans who want to flee the ever growing oppressive nature of the State penned in, his fear of immigrants and their anchor babies is greater.”

Can you please cite the source that gives you this impression? All he wants is for immigrants to go about entering the country in a legal manner.

“Ron Paul’s solution to our contemporary woes is to empower Social Darwinism, the struggle and survival of the fittest sans most of the trappings of the State that creates a utopian society whereby the individual and their choices drive the social order. Implicit in this approach is that the collateral damage consisting of the denigration or destruction of those “less fit” individuals as acceptable. This leads us down the primrose path of subjugation of those deemed less human. ”

Remember, the Declaration of Independence says that we are all entitled to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. No where in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence does it state that the government is the entity that is tasked with providing actual happiness it to us. Some people are going to be more successful than others; be it by education, family heritage, DNA or pure luck. The government should not determine who is deemed a winner or a loser. We’re all provided equal opportunities in the government’s eyes; but that doesn’t mean the government has to provide us all equal results. I am huge proponent of distribution of wealth, as long as I’m the one that gets to decide how to distribute it.

avatar C4LCNCPLS December 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Humm, looks like people are starting to worry about Ron Paul getting the nomination.
They all know he can beat Obama in the General:

(A) 2008 Obama voters who thought they were going to get ‘Change’
(B) 2008 Obama voters who voted to end the wars.
(C) The VAST majority of the Independent vote,
(D) The entire GOP voting block who dislikes Obama enough to vote for Ron Paul instead.
(E) Ron Paul supporters coming out to vote in DROVES.
(F) Same-sex couples who want to be set free.
(G) Democratic, disillusioned Anti-Drug war voters.
(H) Libertarians.

Ron Paul and America wins!

avatar vhan wolfe December 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I learned more from the commentors than the article itself. Basically if you don’t like the status quo vote Paul, otherwise you will be voting for business as usual.

avatar Lethalmiko December 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

“..they are based upon the premise that the world needs to move itself back 150 years or so, and everything will be okay. That’s impractical, of course, which makes his positions all the more alluring to the naive or those ignorant of economic and political history.”

This article gives no rational arguments against Ron Paul’s positions, but makes unfounded bold claims. It criticizes him for supposedly taking us back 150 years but fails to state what exactly is wrong with that. For example.70 years ago there was no gang violence in schools and there were no drug dealers. So would it be a bad thing if America went back to that era?

What is so “naive” about avoiding entangling alliances and trading with all nations as the founding fathers intended? The writes seem to think that modernity changes principles which is false. Theft, for example will always be immoral, even a million years from now.

This is what I find irritating about most of pundits in the media. They dismiss Dr Paul’s positions without explaining why. He is a man who has spent decades studying Economics and foreign policy, written several books and always defends his positions with clear logic and common sense and I would expect journalists who have never even heard of Ludwig Von Mises to have some respect for him.

Finally, Dr Paul’s positions on blowback actually come from the CIA, DOD and 911 Commission reports. If you are going to brand him a kook or nut, then the CIA/DOD/911 Commission are also a bunch of idiots. Do you pundits really think you know better than the CIA?

avatar Simon December 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I took the time to read this entire article I want to thank you for speaking in a respectful manner and presenting your information as opinions, not facts. I am in fact one of those young Ron Paul supporters that you have mentioned in the intro and I hope that you would take the time to read my response as I did with your piece.
I’ll first like to say that Ron Paul reminds me of Socrates, and like Socrates, Ron Paul is a social gadfly. Both Socrates and Ron Paul says many things that challenge the status quo, a move that upsets many. A while like gadflies they can be annoying, they both have roles in which they believe, to wake up the dimwitted horse.
Why I mention this? It is because I agree with you that Ron Paul has unpopular ideas but I disagree with you on that Ron Paul is a bad influence on youth.
“his elevation to near Rock Star status amongst certain disaffected voters is, we think, a very bad thing for this country”.
Though you disagree with the way he handles the problem he is one of the few government voices trying to solve them. When you mention that Americans will never vote for someone who opposes aid to Israel the growing support of Ron Paul seems to oppose that. For every friend we make we lose another. He realizes that our National Debt is too large to ignore and is suggesting many cuts to our spending by getting our troops out of foreign countries.
Your main focus however is that Ron Paul plans on moving back the clock 150 years. That I personally find absurd as we are readopting ideas that were successful in the past especially since our modern policies are failing us. It is true that humans are constantly developing and learning new things however that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the past. Would you also condemn humanism?
As a side note I really suggest you do not use Social Darwinism in relation to humans. Darwin himself condemned using it in that manner. Ron Paul’s policies would not lead to social Darwinism because the complicated system of morality and ethics would keep that from happening. Basically in a human society MANDATED programs are not necessary to keep the disabled and weak alive.

avatar John Friend December 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Ron Paul’s stances are based on Constitutional principals, established long ago by some very bright men that knew what they were talking about. What, exactly, is wrong with that? After all the lawlessness, corruption, and criminality we’ve witnessed the past decade (at least), isn’t it time to start enforcing the law and following the Constitution, which governs our Republic (NOT our democracy!)?

And who would Doug and Andy have us vote for or support for president in 2012? President Obama, one of the biggest tyrants this country has ever seen? Or one of the other neo-con war-mongers currently battling for the Republican nomination?

avatar Amy G December 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I am a recent Paul convert myself and I really don’t have much to say to this article except this: Regardless of how you feel about his policies and ideas, the man stands up for them without fail. He doesn’t back down when those ideas are “unpopular” among folks like yourself. I personally am tired of being lied to by our government and being told what I want to hear rather than what is the truth so that I can make my own decision. I would support Paul for no other reason than he will do (or at least try to do) what he says and not be a true politician that says one thing to your face and turns around and does the exact opposite behind your back. There is a lot to be said for honesty, integrity, and honor. Think about that when you go to the polls.

avatar Sam Geoghegan December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Paging Tom Woods

avatar Grant December 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm

So many fallacies in this article. I’ll take on one of them: “Social Darwinism”. First of all, Paul does not subscribe to Social Darwinism or any similar idea and he rejects your false dichotomy that social compassion can only be delivered by government.

By your use of the term, you imply that without government, there would be no accommodation for the weak in society; that they would be out-competed by the strong, and would perish, and society would be fine with this because either this outcome would be consistent with the values instilled in society by a political philosophy consistent with Paul’s views, or perhaps because they (the weak) would be defenseless without government to protect them. Either way, your assertions are unfounded.

It is patently untrue that government is the only vehicle that can protect the weak within society. It is also patently untrue that individuals do not possess the compassion or the means to express it without the coordination of government.

The possibility that you fail to mention is that a free society might find a better way to care for its sick, poor, and disabled than that which we currently get from government with its forced taxation and expensive, bureaucratic programs that deliver inconsistent services and many unintended consequences.

Oh, yes, and by the way, it is an interesting footnote that the widespread practice of Social Darwinism has only ever occurred under authoritarian governments.

avatar TimD December 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Kudos to everyone who decided to opine in response to this column. Every comment was respectful, inciteful, patient, well-thought out, and logical.

I am neither young (45), nor disaffected, but I am a Ron Paul supporter. I have voted for every Republican candidate since Reagan. And I will be voting Republican again….as long as Ron Paul is the candidate. If he’s not, I’ll be writing him in.

The reality I’ve come to see…is all of the other candidates…including Obama, are just different sides of the same coin.

I have no fealty for any other country, except my own…which is why for the last 16 years I’ve been a member of our Air Force. An interesting sidenote…Ron Paul receives more donations from US servicemembers than all other candidate combined. You can check that with Politifact if you doubt me.

If you honestly feel that our interventionist foreign policy is the best way to defend our freedom, and the freedoms of others, I invite you to join the military. We’d love to have you, and give some of our guys and gals who’ve been on their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th deployment a well deserved break.

avatar Jose Mora December 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I have seen no evidence whatsoever to support your assertion that Ron Paul is anti-immigrant. Wanting to secure the US borders and to require legal entry is in no way an expression of any kind of xenophobia. Ron Paul is NOT Jim Tancredo or even Pat Buchanan!

As far as civilizations, war, poverty, and genocide go, here is my challenge to you: Show me a single case of abject poverty, misery, war, and injustice that was NOT a statist / socialist experiment gone wrong?

And here is what I consider to be the closest in this world to a libertarian model: Hong Kong, especially during British colonial rule. A foreign policy model would be Switzerland. When was the last time THEY were invaded?

I am highly suspect of your definition of “progress” since there is a group that uses an insulting name of “progressive” to suggest that those who oppose state power and state control are somehow opposed to progress. Those are the people who progressively restrict our freedoms, progressively strangle our economy, and progressively confiscate the fruits of our labor and then can’t figure out where all the jobs have gone.

avatar Chad December 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I find it ironic that the OB Rag has a peace symbol in place of the ‘O’ while bashing the only pro-peace candidate we have. Here’s my prediction based on current rumors from the military base I live by. If Dr Paul is not elected next year we will be sending the better part of a division or more of troops to Somalia late ’12 or early ’13. Iraq is over, and the Military Industrial Complex is looking for a new source of revenue.

This was alluded to in the Foreign policy debate when Dr Paul was directly questioned about policy concerning Somalia and Al Shabaab. The current administration is already planning it, and if by some million to one chance that Newt or Willard is next in line they will happily fall in line to spend some ‘military stimulus money’ on corporate desired overseas adventurism.

Here’s a question for you…why are we removing bases in Okinawa (after decades of Okinawan opposition to our presence there) only to send them to Australia?!?!?
Are we going to impose our will on the Australians? Of course not!
Are we protecting the Australians? How the hell do we protect a continent with 10,000 troops?
Are we projecting power in the region? Why do that when we have Carrier Battle Groups?
Are we doing it to spend big money building bases and infrastructure while building up (foreign) local economies and putting money into the companies that sell services to the US military? BINGO!

Support Paul or drop the Peace Symbol from your logo…’nuff said. :P

Hugs & Kisses,
Chad from Kentucky

avatar Anna Daniels December 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The Paul Pep Rally has begun! Aren’t there any supporters out there left queasy by his position that abortion is not only immoral, but the state (aka big government) should make abortion illegal? Anybody wrestling with the issue of corporate, global capitalism and its relationship to the “free market”? Etc.
Can’t wait for the next installments.

avatar dhendrix December 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

@Anna: As others have pointed out, while Paul finds abortion immoral, he wants to leave it to the states to decide (and prohibit the federal government from interfering with their decisions, as per the 10th Amendment).

As for the rest of your message, I believe the word you’re looking for is “corporatism.” Ron Paul is adamantly against that, and even Ralph Nader praised Ron Paul on that front: “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties. They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights. That’s a foundational convergence [ . . . ] It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.”

avatar Uzi Bazooka December 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm

If by some miracle, Paul becomes President, he will have so much opposition in both Houses that he will be able to accomplish very little of his plans aside from military decisions. I see nothing negative in stopping the wars and bringing our soldiers home, especially when our collective sanity has been stretched to the point that hundreds of our dead servicemen are disposed of in landfills.

avatar Patty Jones December 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

“he will have so much opposition in both Houses that he will be able to accomplish very little of his plans”

Sounds pretty familiar. And no one here at the OB Rag will disagree on ending the wars.

avatar lester December 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

anna- Well first I’d point out that there are pro life democrats too. The late Jack Murtha, Bob Casey, I think Harry Reid is too somewhat.

There are lots of libertarians who are pro life because they feel the child has rights and they can’t be violated. Punishing people for murder isn’t “big government” and if you feel that way about abortion it isn’t to you.

It’s his view that the matter should be left to the individual states. That is what the constitution says moral decisions should be .

So okay , if you are pro choice BUT also think that Roe v Wade isn’t constitutional what do you do? If we can toss the constitution aside for something we want how soon will it be till it’s tossed aside for something we don’t want? I’m glad women in rural areas have a right to abortion the same as I’m glad that racists in the south had to let blacks into their diners. At the same time, I’m not convinced it ‘s the governments place to do this.

“Anybody wrestling with the issue of corporate, global capitalism and its relationship to the “free market”? Etc”

corporatism doesn’t have much connection to the free market. thats kinda the problem. Corporatatism is the collusion of big government and big business. That’s exactly what Paul is against.

avatar Jose Mora December 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Anna,

Yes, the murder of an innocent human being should be illegal. Yes, that is precisely the one role of government – to protect individuals right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No, that does not bother me in the least.

Corporate capitalism and globalism? You mean like the monopolies and special trade restrictions created using STATE power to give privileges, bailouts, tariffs, protection and subsidies? Please tell me what ANY of this has even remotely to do with a free market? I would love to hear your explanation.

All these arguments blaming the free market remind me of the cartoon where the living room is a mess, there are DOG prints all over the place, and the dog is saying, “the CAT did it.” Well, we don’t HAVE a cat – and we don’t have a free market. And there are government “dog paw prints” all over every example you can come up with.

avatar dhendrix December 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

“Think slavery. Think Jim Crow. Think about the days when women were the “weaker sex”.”

These are all collectivist ideals, all sanctioned by the State. Ron Paul has been a consistent fighter of individual liberties and against State authority.

As for the social Darwinism bit, as a doctor Ron Paul treated everyone he could, whether they were young or old, whether they could pay or not. He is very charitable, which is exactly the opposite of being a social Darwinist. He simply realizes that you do not need to be compelled by government to do things that benefit society.

Sorry Andy and Doug, but I think you guys really, really misread the guy.

avatar Bsmith December 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I’m Israeli, I’d like to point out a little something here…
For every dollar the US gives Israel, they had 1.5-2 to the immediate surrounding nations and many times that amount to their enemies globally in exchange for dubious influence and lasting liabilities. From Israel’s standpoint alone, it would be FAR better to cut off all gov. foreign aid entirely, leave it private. If there was a real threat the congress would address it. The people that oppose Ron Paul’s views are A. Ignorant. or B. Well aware of this.

avatar Warren Redlich December 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

You write: “Does he really think that complex situation can be resolved by fiat? Does he really think the American people will ever elect a Congress that wouldn’t vote for aid to Israel? Pigs will be declared Kosher before that ever happens—just follow the money.”

The president’s power in foreign affairs is “plenary”: .

avatar mike turco December 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

ron paul would decriminalize drugs. how many millions have gone to jail because of drugs. to me the drug war is a form of slavery. Decriminalize drugs and the dea would be gone . prisons would close. ron paul wants to follow the constitution, isn’t that the definition of america. he wants a sound currency. not fiat money. the fed was created in 1913 by the bankers. he doesn’t like the fed. who does? in the past the republicans used to say over and over,we are not the policeman of the world. I wish they would get their story straight. ron paul is saying that now. i personally think ron paul is a great man.

one mans opinion

avatar Warren Redlich December 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

“While he admits to being troubled by the imagery of barbed wire fences with machine guns on the basis of these barriers being used to keep God-fearing Americans who want to flee the ever growing oppressive nature of the State penned in, his fear of immigrants and their anchor babies is greater.”

Do you have a source for this, or are you just making it up? I’m betting the latter.

These issues are trivial for Ron Paul next to the big issues – cutting spending, ending the wars, and following the Constitution.

avatar Warren Redlich December 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

“they are based upon the premise that the world needs to move itself back 150 years or so”

You made that up too. Ron Paul respects the Constitution, including amendments that were passed in the past 150 years. Except maybe for that one with the income tax.

On one thing you’re in the ballpark. He does think the federal government should return to its proper constitutional role, which was last modified after the Civil War. But he would leave the states free to do whatever they want.

And you should ask yourself this: Why bother having both federal and state governments? If the federal government has the authority to do everything, why not get rid of the state governments?

Looked at the other way (the right way), why would anyone think the states are less capable than the Feds of making policy decisions? I might agree that the states often do stupid things, but the Feds outdo them on a consistent basis.

avatar EPR December 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Just as predicted, once popular and a real threat- the smear campaign will begin, and it has.

avatar Warren Redlich December 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

“Ron Paul’s solution to our contemporary woes is to empower Social Darwinism, the struggle and survival of the fittest sans most of the trappings of the State that creates a utopian society whereby the individual and their choices drive the social order.”

Because our government programs to deal with this have really helped, right? Do you spend much time in minority communities?

But again, you misunderstand (deliberately?) Ron Paul’s position. He wants to reimpose the proper limits on the federal government. If NY and CA want to have huge welfare states, they’d be free to do so.

avatar Steve December 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Let me break this down. You are basically saying, like many retirees. I am going to stop Ron Paul from winning so he doesn’t let home prices drop to affordable levels for young people and corrupt Wall Street fcks lose all their power so I can keep living off false wealth built on a financial ponzi scheme. Am I close?

avatar bfkeane December 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I don’t see how cutting back on Washington bureaucracy would be a step backward. On the contrary there is little rationale today for a large centralized government. It is less democratic than state-level government and most issues become intractable when approached on such a large scale. Each of the 50 states – on average – has the population & GDP of a large democratic country like Denmark. Fortunately in our constitution each state is sovereign. California, for instance, has its own laws on gun control and environmental protection which are stricter than federal laws – indeed almost all EPA laws were derived from California laws. If you want more (or less) government you’re free to do so – but work at the state and local level because giving more power to Washington only produces more wars and corruption.

Before globalization, the large size of the US internal market was a big advantage – now Taiwan or Singapore is just as well positioned to market its goods as is any US state. Our great size used to be an advantage but now it’s holding us back. Washington only adds a layer of complexity and duplication on top of state-level government which the states would be only too glad to do without. Washington is in gridlock over social issues (e.g. health care) that smaller nations solved long ago. Imagine 50 Israels or Denmarks coming to agreement on divisive social issues. It’s no wonder Washington is corrupt and imperialist meanwhile we keep arguing over the same social issues – abortion, gun control, health care, etc – for which unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

I’m a high-tech engineer, I like to build things that work, and large systems do not work. I support Ron Paul because he believes in decentralized government. He also strikes me as a pragmatist and not an ideologue – e.g. most fundamentally the War on Drugs is wrong because it doesn’t work.

avatar Editor December 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

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