Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ron Paul R[love]ution

Since I spend so much time bashing libertarians I thought for balance I should link to this well-written and convincing post by Charles Davis on the reasons why progressives should prefer Ron Paul to Barack Obama. Excerpt:
[Obama has] pushed for the largest military budget in world history, given trillions of dollars to Wall Street in bailouts and near-zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve, protected oil companies like BP from legal liability for environmental damages they cause – from poisoning the Gulf to climate change – and mandated that all Americans purchase the U.S. health insurance industry's product. You might argue Paul's a corporatist, but there's no denying Obama's one.

And at least Paul would – and this is important, I think – stop killing poor foreigners with cluster bombs and Predator drones. Unlike the Nobel Peace Prize winner-in-chief, Paul would also bring the troops home from not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but Europe, Korea and Okinawa. ...

Even on on the most pressing domestic issues of the day, Paul strikes me as a hell of a lot more progressive than Obama. Look at the war on drugs: Obama has continued the same failed prohibitionist policies as his predecessors, maintaining a status quo that has placed 2.3 million – or one in 100 – Americans behind bars, the vast majority African-American and Hispanic. Paul, on the other hand, has called for ending the drug war and said he would pardon non-violent offenders, which would be the single greatest reform a president could make in the domestic sphere, equivalent in magnitude to ending Jim Crow.
To put it my own way: I'd say I agree with maybe 30-40% of Ron Paul's principles, and strongly disagree with the rest. But the point is, unlike every other current Presidential condidate, he actually has some. That in itself is enormously appealing. It also pretty much guarantees he won't be elected, unless something awfully drastic happens to change the way electoral politics works.

[This previous post is pretty anti-Paul, but also expressed a similar fondness.]


larryy said...

I agree with Ron Paul on the issues you've highlighted, but couldn't possibly support him. Paul has also said that Roe v. Wade was damaging to the Constitution. He wants to allow school prayer, supports the teaching of creationism in schools, supports home schooling (aka religious mental abuse of children), and is in favor of spending tax dollars to support christian schools. Paul fights any controls on CO2 emissions and votes against all support for energy conservation or renewable energy sources. He is extremely pro-gun rights. He wants to abolish medicaid in favor of pro bono treatment (sure, that's going to happen), is vehemently opposed to any kind of national healthcare, even for children, wants to eliminate social security, and is an Ayn Rand true believer (reason enough for me to despise him).

So despite full agreement with some of his points, his willful, supposedly principled lack of compassion for the poor, the sick, women, and children combined with a desire to impose christianity nation-wide, including in the public education system, makes him wildly unacceptable to me. YMMV.

Note, it's not his religious faith that's the issue for me. It's that he would institutionalize faith--eliminate the division between church and state. And make no mistake, organized religions in this nation have just such an agenda. The priest in a local Catholic church told his parishioners that to vote for Gore (vs. Bush) would be a Sin, in the formal, religious sense. I don't care what anyone believes as long as they don't try to force it on me, but modern religions are not content to live in harmony with other religions or atheists--it's my God, my way or you can go die. I cannot find a way to feel even a little bit comfortable with that.

As for abortion, Paul now claims he wants to put those decisions in the hands of the states. But this is just code for banning abortion, and proves him to be every bit the dissembling politician he claims not to be. Such a move would mean clothes hangers and needless deaths and all the old horror stories for women unfortunate enough to be born in the wrong place in this country. Again, I can't come to peace with that.

If not for federal regulation, blacks still wouldn't be voting in a number of states, nor might women. It's even conceivable that some states would still allow slavery. On these major moral issues the federal government has a responsibility to insure minimum human rights, rather than letting the nation devolve into pockets of bigotry and repression. This is just my opinion, and I can understand arguments against it, but I believe this is both the moral and the practical path, in terms of lives affected here and now.

And Paul's unabashed Libertarian stance would mean an end to the commonwealth--all common wealth. It is a good Libertarian's highest calling to make sure no resources are diverted to support anyone, period. The sick, the poor, the unemployed, can all look out for themselves, as everyone *must*, and if they can't, well, then that's their lot in life. Basically, those leeches can all go die.

larryy said...

All that said, another person whose opinion I value highly has positive, albeit mixed things to say about Paul:

And I note that you estimated you only agreed with 30% to 40% of what Paul has to say. So we're probably pretty much on the same page. Paul is certainly saner than most Teabaggers, and more principled than Romney or Trump or Gingrich. And I might trade a fair bit to be out of the wars--both Arab and drug. But I really am afraid a Paul term in office would kill more Americans than we have killed Iraqi and Afghans.

mtraven said...

Yeah I'm pretty sure I could not actually support RP for the many reasons you've cited, not to mention his coziness with racists and anti-semites. But I'm having a tough time aligning with the Democrats, so what am I going to do? Maybe ignore politics for awhile and get back to work.