The Ron Paul dilemma

Rep. Ron Paul opposes many things I am for.  He is opposed to civil rights laws.  He is anti-labor.  He wants to destroy the social safety net.  He opposes legislation to protect health, safety and the environment.  Under ordinary circumstances, I would regard him as a dangerous radical extremist.

But he is one of the few prominent political figures to oppose the perpetual war policy supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties.  He is one of the few to stand up for basic civil liberties.  He is among the few to stand up to the oppose the Wall Street bailouts.

So there is a dilemma.  Ron Paul wants to repeal the New Deal.  But the Bush administration, the Obama administration and most of the current Republican candidates are willing to repeal the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and rights of due process that go back to Magna Carta.

I think the Constitution is more important than the New Deal.  So long as the Constitution endures, it will be possible in the fullness of time to reconstitute the New Deal and the civil rights laws.

But that doesn’t resolve the dilemma.  Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Senator Bernie Sanders and other political figures that are just as clear-eyed about war and civil liberties as Ron Paul.  Why aren’t they as prominent as Ron Paul?  In my opinion, it is because Ron Paul’s anti-liberal backers give him a stronger base of support than liberals would give to an anti-Obama liberal Democrat.   Some liberals are willing to make common cause with Ron Paul supporters, but I don’t think many long-time Ron Paul supporters, or maybe any, who are willing to make common cause with liberals.

I don’t think I would vote for Ron Paul in the extremely unlikely event that he was nominated, and the equally unlikely event that the outcome in New York state was not a foregone conclusion.  But I am glad Ron Paul is in the race.  Even though I don’t agree with some of the things he believes in, I admire his grit and his willingness to speak the truth as he sees it.  He raises issues that need to be raised.

Click on Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters for documentation on why Ron Paul’s old newsletters from the late 1980s and early 1990s were so inflammatory.

Click on Ron Paul’s Shaggy Defense and “Old News”  for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ take-down of Ron Paul’s defense of his newsletters.

Click on Grappling With Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters for Conor Friedersdorf’s commentary in The Atlantic on the significance of the newsletters.

Click on Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies for Glenn Greenwald’s argument as to why Ron Paul’s views are no worse, from a liberal standpoint, that Barack Obama’s actions, and video links to Ron Paul’s statements about war and civil liberties.

Click on Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals for Matt Stoller’s analysis of Ron Paul’s political views about the connection between the Federal Reserve System and the ability of government to finance wars.

[Added 1/4/12]

Click on The Era of the Ron Paul Racist Newsletters Isn’t Even Past for Mike Konczal’s comment on Rortybomb.

But at the same time, Ron Paul is the only recognized Republican candidate, and one of the few American political figures, who defends basic American liberties.  President Barack Obama has in effect suspended the Bill of Rights.  Like President George W. Bush, he has asserted powers to indefinitely detain people with charge or trial, and he has gone beyond President Bush in signing death warrants for American citizens and others based on secret criteria.  He has expanded the powers of secret, unaccountable national security and intelligence agencies.  He has waged acts of war without any pretense of congressional authorization.  He has created a whole new dimension of warfare by means of flying killer robot drones.  He has slaughtered uncounted civilians, including dozens of Muslim children.  He has shielded Bush administration officials and Wall Street bankers from prosecution for crimes, and aggressively prosecuted whistleblowers for revealing government wrongdoing.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote in the article to which I linked, it is Ron Paul, and only Ron Paul, among all the recognized candidates who has stood up in opposition to all this.

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6 Responses to “The Ron Paul dilemma”

  1. Barry Says:

    “I think the Constitution is more important than the New Deal. So long as the Constitution endures, it will be possible in the fullness of time to reconstitute the New Deal and the civil rights laws.”

    That’s a large assertion.

    Also, there’s an implicit assumption that Ron Paul actually means this. I noticed that his son, when given a shot at a Senate seat (ie., real power compared to a Rep) immediately went full Christianist. And after he was elected, there’s no sign that he used the massive blocking power of a Senator to stop anything in the military-industrial crony capital complex.

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  2. Barry Says:

    I’d also add that the people to whom Ron Paul was courting are not people who really like the Constitution, when it comes to the freedoms of a lot of people. When somebody is against the 14th amendment, they’re against freedom.

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  3. Kaz Vorpal Says:

    Before you decide about Paul, read the hard facts about the racist articles in his newsletters:

    http://pithy.butnowyouknow.net/the-facts-about-ron-pauls-newsletters-and-the-racist-articles/

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  4. Anne Tanner Says:

    I’m not happy with Obama right now, either. But Ron Paul would like to end any federal funding of health care. He says that Christian churches could take over funding the extremely sick, poor, those with extremely complicated cases, children, indigent accident victims, and those who are old now and cannot possibly compensate for his utter meanness. And he was a doctor … It is just beyond all comprehension that any Democrats would consider crossing over and caucusing for this nut in Iowa today.

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  5. Barry Says:

    Kaz, this is just the old argument that for years, Ron Paul was unaware of what his small operation was putting out under his name, and that none of his friends, family or subscribers mentioned this to him.

    In addition, having Lew Rockwell write for him is not an endorsement.

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  6. Steve Says:

    Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

    — Louis Dembitz Brandeis

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