“Leave the young people alone, and they’ll find out that they prefer lovemaking to warmongering”
–Congressman Ron Paul
It’s been a while, humans. Sorry for that.
But once again, I’m here with a purpose. And that purpose is patriotism.
I consider myself a patriot the same way I consider myself an atheist; in other words, though the term might make me uncomfortable because of the connotations associated with it, it is nevertheless an accurate term when applied to me. I love this country. We may not be the best at everything. We may have a lot of problems. We may not always be on the same page. But, for the most part, we the people represent a concept that was quite revolutionary at the time of our founding, and remains pretty revolutionary today: liberty.
Sadly, a lot of patriots forget this concept; which is sad, because it’s the very concept this country was founded upon. Li-ber-ty. Not safety. Not religion. Not economic or social equality. Fucking liberty.
Here’s the thing. As I mentioned before (and in every other entry on this blog), I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in any kind of god. I don’t hold any kind of religious beliefs. And I also really resent non-believers being excluded in the political arena. But I’m also not one of these knee-jerk liberal atheists that only vote on one issue. I’ve made no bones about my attraction to the concept of classic liberalism, and
when if I vote, I try to weigh the pros and cons of each and every candidate before I make a decision. The same way everyone should, I think.
With that in mind, I now turn my attention to Congressman Ron Paul.
Ron Paul has taken a lot of flack from both sides of the political spectrum. Liberals find him too conservative. Conservatives find him too liberal. And some just think he’s nothing more than a big bag of guano-crazy anarcho-extremism.
And that may or may not be true. But I’m voting for the bastard anyway.
I’m certainly not going to sit here and suck Ron Paul’s veiny, libertarian cock. In fact, I’m going to start by listing the areas where I disagree with him, just so we’re all aware that I’m not out to over-sensationalize anyone.
So without further ado, here’s where Ron Paul and I do not see eye-to-eye.
PART 1: Where Ron Paul and Black Jeezus Disagree
Freedom of Religion
“The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life. The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance.”
–Ron Paul, “The War on Religion“
So I figured I’d start with where I most disagree with R-Pizzle. Entering into evidence, Exhibit A, the quote above. Granted, he wrote this way back in 2003, but he hasn’t come out and officially reversed his position on the issue, so we can only assume he still feels this way.
Most of the aforementioned knee-jerk atheists would be quick to dismiss Ron Paul solely on this basis (mostly because… well, he’s wrong). I am not one of these atheists.
Yes, he’s also voted in favor of the We the People Act, which would have effectively allowed states and local governments to display religious text and imagery in public buildings. And that’s a bad thing. But I still don’t think it’s reason enough not to vote for the motherfucker.
In short, if the Ten Commandments showing up in a county courthouse is the worst thing I have to worry about with a Paul presidency, then I’d say it’s pretty meager as far as sacrifices go. I mean, we already tolerate violations of the Establishment Clause on our money. If dealing with some religious imagery means we won’t be sending our kids off to die in the desert and our money won’t be ablaze, that’s a tradeoff I’d be more than willing to make.
And what’s more, I know for a fact I’m not the only atheist who feels this way.
“I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.”
–Ron Paul, in a 1999 Speech to Congress
Women’s rights is another big issue for me, although I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t devoted much attention to abortion rights on this here blog. Which means I’m now pretty much forced to summarize my own views right here, in a handy little paragraph. So here goes…
If you believe that life begins at the moment of conception, such that the rights of a fertilized egg are equal to or even supersede the rights of the adult female carrying said fertilized egg, then you, sir, are a douchebag. Not only are you a douchebag, but (in my opinion, anyway) you are a sexist douchebag, because such a belief diminishes women to an unprecedented and completely despicable degree. It’s almost like equating women with saliva, and declaring that both deserve equal protection under the law.
And if you, in addition, believe this issue to be black-and-white, you can add “moronic” to the list of adjectives as well.
Ron Paul disagrees (to which I respond…). He wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. But unlike most candidates on the conservative side of the aisle, he adopts a much more libertarian standpoint, and would rather leave the legality of abortion up to the states to decide for themselves.
See, this is why you shouldn’t make a ruling on a candidate based on ten-second sound-bytes. Because, whether you’re conservative or liberal, if you really think about this option, it’s not a bad compromise.
Roe v. Wade forces all states to accept abortion whether they agree with it or not. Which means, in some cases, their tax dollars are being spent to enforce laws that they believe are morally wrong. Yes, they’re mistaken. You know that, and I know that. But whether or not we think they’re mistaken doesn’t matter. What matters is that if we leave this question up to the states, some will inevitably uphold the current abortion policies, while others will vote to ban it. So if, say, Alabama votes to ban abortion and some woman gets pregnant and really wants to abort, she can go to a state where abortion is legal and spend her own money in that state, which in turn improves the local economy of that state, thus providing an incentive for those states who choose to allow legal abortions.
Likewise, if a citizen doesn’t want their tax dollars being used to enforce a law that makes abortion legal, they can pack up and move to one of the states that bans it. No one’s being forced to adhere to a law they don’t agree with.
Now, before I get a bunch of vitriolic comments, YES, I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS ISN’T AN IDEAL SOLUTION. And I’m fully aware of the negatives and externalities. But this is an extremely touchy issue that Americans have been bickering about for decades, and even though I believe that a fetus =/= a human, I can’t empirically demonstrate the validity of this view any more than a Christian can show the opposite. A compromise needs to be reached, and one that is fluid enough to be able to change over time as the American people become more and more educated about women’s issues and the right to choose.
Forcing one view on everyone through federal policy, even if I do agree with that view, leads only to polarization and does little to combat the root of the problem. Leaving it up to the states, while not a perfect solution, is still a more elegant one than any of the other options.
“Well, first I thought it was a very inappropriate question for the presidency to be decided upon a scientific matter. And uh, I uh, I think it’s a theory. The theory of evolution. And I don’t accept it as a theory. [snip] The creator that I know created us, each and every one of us and created the universe, and the precise time and manner and uh, you know, I just don’t think we’re at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side.”
–Ron Paul in 2007, when asked if he believes evolution to be true
I know I’m about to lose a lot of atheists here, as I can’t imagine too many rationalists being willing to cast their vote for a candidate who is unwilling to accept a scientific fact that’s as well-supported as germ theory or gravity. Needless to say, I disagree with him here as well. Quite ardently.
And I also disagree with Paul’s assertion that it’s an “inappropriate question.” The teaching of intelligent design in public school classes is absolutely a political issue, and one that has even been ruled upon by federal judges. Bear in mind also that the president appoints federal judges, which makes it especially relevant during a presidential campaign.
But take a look at what Paul writes in his latest book, Liberty Defined:
“No one person has perfect knowledge as to man’s emergence on this earth…The creationists frown on the evolutionists, and the evolutionists dismiss the creationists as kooky and unscientific. Lost in this struggle are those who look objectively at all the scientific evidence for evolution without feeling any need to reject the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. My personal view is that recognizing the validity of an evolutionary process does not support atheism nor should it diminish one’s view about God and the universe.”
See, that’s not so crazy. He believes that a person who accepts evolution after careful review of the evidence isn’t wrong or misreading the facts. I can get behind that. It’s certainly not what I’d ideally like to hear from a presidential candidate, but at least he’s not insistent on every American believing that his imaginary wizard friend poofed everything into existence.
Unfortunately, he’s gone on record [PDF] saying that he would support the presentation of “scientific evidence that contradicts the theory of evolution.” And, actually, I’d be in favor of that too. That is, if such “scientific evidence” existed anywhere outside of the vivid imagination of uneducated creationists.
And yes, he thinks states should decide what they want to teach in public schools, but if you’re paying close attention, he adopts pretty much the same stance I do concerning public education overall. He thinks public education funding should switch to more of a voucher system, which would allow parents to choose their children’s schooling options from a number of private alternatives and receive public funds to cover the cost. I’ve already written about this issue, so I won’t repeat it again. In sum, this option is much less intrusive and is likely to produce a much better education system overall, at least in my own opinion.
Even if this weren’t the case, I still think Ron Paul’s stance on evolution is far from the biggest thing on my mind when deciding which candidate to vote for.
Possible Deal-Breaker: Gay Marriage
“Having federal officials, whether judges, bureaucrats, or congressmen, impose a new definition of marriage on the people is an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty.”
–Ron Paul, “Protecting Marriage from Judicial Tyranny“
The gay marriage issue is certainly a deal-breaker for me, especially since my best friend is a homo-gay; I simply can’t envision myself supporting a candidate that believes same-sex couples do not deserve equal marriage rights.
The problem with Ron Paul is that I’m unsure of his official stance on gay marriage, since he’s continually given conflicting opinions on the matter. On one hand, he supported the Defense of Marriage Act, and he also introduced the aforementioned We the People Act, which would have removed such questions from federal jurisdiction and left them up to the states.
But on the other hand, if you actually read the legislation, both these votes are consistent with his stated view that in a best-case scenario, the government should have absolutely no say in marriage, and would simply enforce private marriage contracts (regardless of sexual orientation) and grant divorces. And, when asked about his stance on gay marriage, he’s gone on record saying, “I am supportive of all voluntary associations, and people can call it whatever they want.”
Additionally, he voted in favor of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, though I’m not sure how relevant that is to his stance on gay marriage.
Bottom line, this is one of those issues for which I’m going to require a straight answer from Ron Paul. Yes, I agree that the government (federal and local) should have no say in a person’s private voluntary associations whatsoever, and should do nothing more than enforce private contracts in the matter.
But that is not the current situation in our current America. The government has somehow taken it upon themselves to overstep their boundaries yet again and afford special privileges and incentives to citizens who decide to get married; and if a government decides to do this, it absolutely cannot withhold these benefits from certain citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation. It has to either make these benefits available to all its constituents, or not do it at all.
PART 2: Why Black Jeezus is Voting for the Bastard
Reason #1: War & Foreign Policy
“There’s nobody in this world that could possibly attack us today. I mean, we could defend this country with a few good submarines. If anybody dared touch us we could wipe any country off of the face of the earth within hours. And here we are, so intimidated and so insecure and we’re acting like such bullies that we have to attack third-world nations that have no military and have no weapons.”
–Ron Paul, in a 2007 Washington Post interview
Ron Paul was one of the first politicians to openly oppose the War in Iraq, from its very ill-conceived beginning. And he continues to this day to oppose U.S. presence in Iraq, accusing the government of using the War on Terror to drum up enough fear to curtail civil liberties.
In fact, his stances on all wars follow a consistent pattern of non-intervention, which I absolutely love and fully support. The cruelties and inhumanities of war notwithstanding, just think how much federal money would be saved by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Germany, Japan and every other goddamn corner of the world where we’re neither needed or wanted.
Lots of candidates say they would end the wars, including Barack Obama (fat lot of good that promise was, right?). But Ron Paul is the only candidate with the consistent voting record and massive balls to back up his statements; and as Commander in Chief he would actually have the power and resources to get that shit done.
He’s also opposed to U.S. monetary support of Israel (of which I, myself, have yet to hear a good argument in support) and voted in favor of ending the pointless trade restrictions with Cuba. A thousand fucking points to Gryffindor for that shit.
Reason #2: The War on Drugs
“We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn’t working. We have already spent over $400 billion since the early 1970s, and it is wasted money. Prohibition didn’t work. Prohibition on drugs doesn’t work. So we need to come to our senses. And, absolutely, it’s a disease. We don’t treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease, and we should orient ourselves to this.”
–Ron Paul, at a 2007 GOP Presidential Forum
This is where Ron Paul and other libertarians completely lose the conservatives. And, for the life of me, I cannot understand why.
If you’re a fiscal conservative, you should be against any policy that wastes tax money. The War on Drugs has been wasting our tax money for forty fucking years, with absolutely no results. If you’re a “small government” advocate, you should be against any policy that sets out to make the government needlessly larger and subject the American people to search and seizure procedures that trample even the most basic of human rights. If you’re hard on violent crime, you should be against the single policy that has nearly doubled the murder rate, greatly increased the instances of assault and robbery, and given unprecedented power to street thugs and drug cartels who use violence to control the market.
And the icing on the cake? I have yet found a single person who, when asked, is able to name one solitary reason why illegal drugs should remain illegal that wouldn’t also apply to alcohol or tobacco. None.
So, yes. Ron Paul is right on the fucking money when he says that drug addicts need to be treated like addicts and not like criminals. And it’s a shame more politicians don’t have the cojones to say so.
Regardless of how you personally feel about drugs, keeping them illegal is so much more costly than legalizing them. Costly in so many ways, that to still be in support of Prohibition after researching the facts is tantamount to willful ignorance and waste.
Reason #3: Fiscal Responsibility
“Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven’t had capitalism. A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank.”
–Ron Paul, “Has Capitalism Failed?“
Liberals, hear me out. I love you, I do… but your economic policies are monumentally shitty.
You don’t solve an economic crisis by taking more money from people and using it to subsidize goods or hire people to do things that the general public wouldn’t pay for of their own accord. Christ, even saying it sounds asinine.
First, Ron Paul has, from the very beginning, voted against all unbalanced budgets, and his stance has always been about reducing the tax burden. He would do this, he says, by drastically reducing the size and scope of the government, eliminating or greatly shrinking several federal departments including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Internal Revenue Service.
God-damn wouldn’t you love to never have to deal with the IRS ever again?
A lot of us have been conditioned to think that the government cannot operate without taking money from our paychecks. But in reality, the federal government can operate just fine with the money it generates from tariffs, excise taxes, property taxes and sales taxes… if it simply (a) doesn’t overstep its boundaries, and (b) discards superfluous spending. In fact, prior to 1913, this was exactly the case.
This also includes getting rid of the welfare state, which pushes the irritable buttons of a lot of liberals who think a government solution to a wide-scale problem is the only possible solution. Listen to me, okay? Welfare, in short, is when you care so much about people you’ve never met that you’re willing to steal from other people you’ve never met. Make sense? Yea, didn’t think so.
But it’s not just a monetary issue. It’s a social and moral one as well. Welfare programs do nothing to address the issue of poverty or it’s underlying causes. All they do is place a band-aid on the problem, enslave the people that depend on them, and spawn more antipathy and hatred. Obviously, we should make an effort to reach out to those in need and take measures to combat poverty. But only measures that are likely to work. Current welfare programs fail miserably at this.
Oh, and Ron Paul was also against the federal corporate bailouts of 2008. So to any ill-informed shitheads who think he’s just another politician in the pocket of big business, think again.
Reason #4: Fucking Civil Liberties, Motherfuckers!
“The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people.”
There are several facets to this, so I’ll try to blast out as many as I can.
Ron Paul has voted against Net Neutrality (if you wouldn’t, then your ass needs to read more). He has also opposed the Patriot Act consistently, from its very inception.
He’s an ardent supporter and advocate of the right of jury nullification, a concept of which too many Americans are still regrettably unaware.
He supports the federal decriminalization of prostitution and online gambling.
He’s against capital punishment, an issue that he actually changed his mind on during his time in office.
He opposes the federalization of airport security and supports disbanding the TSA along with the DHS.
I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea. Representative Ron Paul knows that human beings have rights, and that the role of the government is to ensure that we keep them, not to take them away.
Reason #5: He’s Sexy as Hell
I know it’s a dangerous business, letting sexiness determine viability as a presidential candidate (see: Sarah Palin), but god damn… look at that sexy motherfucker in the picture. Those eyes. That charming-ass smile. And clearly he takes care of himself (he’s a doctor, after all). How are you not turned on right now?
I’m secure enough in my heterosexual masculinity to admit that Ron Paul is one good-looking man. And mine eyes have seen plenty of man to go around.
But seriously, though…
I’m not naive enough to think that one man will solve all of our social and economic problems. I’m not counting on one candidate to single-handedly bring us into a state of democratic and constitutional utopia. And like I’ve already stated, there are several things about Ron Paul that I just plain do not like.
But what I vote for, ultimately, is liberty. Mother fucking liberty. And for my vote, Ron Paul just happens to hit most of my bullet points. No other candidate I’ve seen even comes close.
That may change. It’s pretty early to tell, and some points of contention may indeed arise between now and November of 2012. But until I find someone better (or until someone endorses my own presidential candidacy and funds my campaign), I’m sticking with Paul. Mostly because I’m sick and tired of the same old shit, and want someone who has the balls to back up his talk with his votes.
Hopefully, the rest of you American humans agree.