Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'll take the reactionary over the murderer, thanks


Ron Paul is far from perfect, but I'll say this much for the Texas congressman: He has never authorized a drone strike in Pakistan. He has never authorized the killing of dozens of women and children in Yemen. He hasn't protected torturers from prosecution and he hasn't overseen the torturous treatment of a 23-year-old young man for the “crime” of revealing the government's criminal behavior.

Can the same be said for Barack Obama?

Yet, ask a good movement liberal or progressive about the two and you'll quickly be informed that yeah, Ron Paul's good on the war stuff -- yawn -- but otherwise he's a no-good right-wing reactionary of the worst order, a guy who'd kick your Aunt Beth off Medicare and force her to turn tricks for blood-pressure meds. By contrast, Obama, war crimes and all, provokes no such visceral distaste. He's more cosmopolitan, after all; less Texas-y. He's a Democrat. And gosh, even if he's made a few mistakes, he means well.

Sure he's a murderer, in other words, but at least he's not a Republican!

Put another, even less charitable way: Democratic partisans – liberals – are willing to trade the lives of a couple thousand poor Pakistani tribesman in exchange for a few liberal catnip-filled speeches and NPR tote bags for the underprivileged. The number of party-line progressives who would vote for Ron Paul over Barack Obama wouldn't be enough to fill Conference Room B at the local Sheraton, with even harshest left-leaning critics of the president, like Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, saying they'd prefer the mass-murdering sociopath to that kooky Constitution fetishist.

As someone who sees the electoral process as primarily a distraction, something that diverts energy and attention from more effective means of reforming the system, I don't much care if people don't vote for Ron Paul. In fact, if you're going to vote, I'd rather you cast a write-in ballot for Emma Goldman. But! I do have a problem with those who imagine themselves to be liberal-minded citizens of the world casting their vote for Barack Obama and propagating the notion that someone can bomb and/or militarily occupy Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and Libya and still earn more Progressive Points than the guy who would, you know, not do any of that.

Let's just assume the worst about Paul: that he's a corporate libertarian in the Reason magazine/Cato Institute mold that would grant Big Business and the financial industry license to do whatever the hell it wants with little in the way of accountability (I call this scenario the “status quo”). Let's say he dines on Labradoodle puppies while using their blood to scribble notes in the margins of his dog-eared, gold-encrusted copy of Atlas Shrugged.

So. Fucking. What.

Barack Obama isn't exactly Eugene Debs, after all. Hell, he's not even Jimmy Carter. The facts are: he's 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. There'd be no need for a School of the Americas because the U.S. wouldn't be busy training foreign military personnel the finer points of human rights abuses. Israel would have to carry out its war crimes on its own dime.

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.

Paul would also stop providing subsidies to corporate agriculture, nuclear energy and fossil fuels, while allowing class-action tort suits to proceed against oil and coal companies for the environmental damage they have wrought. Obama, by contrast, is providing billions to coal companies under the guise of “clean energy” – see his administration's policies on carbon capture and sequestration, the fossil fuel-equivalent of missile defense – and promising billions more so mega-energy corporations can get started on that “nuclear renaissance” we've all heard so much about. And if Paul really did succeed in cutting all those federal departments he talks about, there's nothing to prevent states and local governments -- and, I would hope, alternative social organizations not dependent on coercion -- from addressing issues such as health care and education. Decentralism isn't a bad thing.

All that aside, though, it seems to me that if you're going to style yourself a progressive, liberal humanitarian, your first priority really ought to be stopping your government from killing poor people. Second on that list? Stopping your government from putting hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens in cages for decades at a time over non-violent “crimes” committed by consenting adults. Seriously: what the fuck? Social Security's great and all I guess, but not exploding little children with cluster bombs – shouldn't that be at the top of the Liberal Agenda?

Over half of Americans' income taxes go to the military-industrial complex and the costs of arresting and locking up their fellow citizens. On both counts, Ron Paul's policy positions are far more progressive than those held – and indeed, implemented – by Barack Obama. And yet it's Paul who's the reactionary of the two?

My sweeping, I'm hoping overly broad assessment: liberals, especially the pundit class, don't much care about dead foreigners. They're a political problem at best – will the Afghan war derail Obama's re-election campaign? – not a moral one. And liberals are more than willing to accept a few charred women and children in some country they'll never visit in exchange for increasing social welfare spending by 0.02 percent, or at least not cutting it by as much as a mean 'ol Rethuglican.

Mother Jones' Kevin Drum, for example, has chastised anti-Obama lefties, complaining that undermining – by way of accurately assessing and commenting upon – a warmonger of the Democratic persuasion is “extraordinarily self-destructive" to all FDR-fearing lefties.

“Just ask LBJ,” Drum added. The historical footnote he left out: That LBJ was run out of office by the anti-war left because the guy was murdering hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. But mass murder is no reason to oppose a Democratic president, at least not if you're a professional liberal.

There are exceptions: Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman has a piece in Truth Out suggesting the anti-war left checking out Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who's something of a Ron Paul-lite. But for too many liberals, it seems partisanship and the promise – not even necessarily the delivery, if you've been reading Obama's die-hard apologists – of infinitesimally more spending on domestic programs is more important than saving the lives of a few thousand innocent women and children who happen to live outside the confines of the arbitrary geopolitical entity known as the United States.

Another reason to root -- if not vote -- for Ron Paul: if there was a Republican in the White House, liberals just might start caring about the murder of non-Americans again.

49 comments:

  1. You deserve the liberal blogger Badge of Courage for this one! I think there's one other advantage to electing Ron Paul - the Democrats in Congress would be bound by partisan interest to oppose his domestic policy plans. With Obama in the White House, they are poor conflicted little buggers who just don't know whether they want to destroy Social Security or save it until their Great Leader gives the word. I have no interest in seeing any other Republican in the White House, but only because they would continue the policies of Bushobama and continue our national decline and disgrace.

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  2. Ouch. Nicely done.

    I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Obama won the election, and have spent most of my time identifying as part of the Democrat "team", on the grounds that it seems by far the preferable of the two available sides.

    But each time I read another reality check like this, reminding me quite how little has been achieved that I might have hoped for and approved of, how many concessions have been made, and how many similarities there are between the guy in power and the other guy who I'd be outraged by if it were him doing this stuff... it gets less and less painful to feel like someone on my "side" is being criticised.

    My horror at the state of the mainstream American right still makes me cling to some hope that the liberals might do some good, but the idea that they're the side of righteousness and justice and progress and compassion and reality has been plummeting into untenability for longer than I've realised.

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  3. There are a lot more people who think of the world like this than there are who think of the world like you.

    Drum's seemingly ironic reference to LBJ is right in line with this. When you write something like "sound too harsh?" after summarizing the logic of a fuckhead like Kevin Drum, it doesn't matter to them. They are not blind or unaware of their own calculus.

    Its hilarious how he favorably compares Bush's base to Obama because Bush's base had more loyalty to Bush. The most telling statement of his is the ask LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton line about how opposition to their policies from the left strengthened /weakened liberalism because it betrays a deep seated authoritarian mindset. Those party leaders are the definition of liberalism, whatever they say it is and however they judge its qualities. He did not overlook LBJ's ignominious end, that is the point of what Drum is saying.

    You wrote all of this, I know, but I am stressing it because Drum is not a "naive sucker." You are assuming that since his self-definition as a moral liberal and his support for charring people around the globe are mutually exclusive. Being a moral liberal has nothing to do with what you consider morality, opposing violence and oppression, the measure of a liberals morality is ha measure of their support for the 'liberal' party and its leaders and that's it. If liberal leaders says or does x, then its moral to support x too if you are a liberal.

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  4. There are a lot more people who think of the world like this than there are who think of the world like you.

    Drum's seemingly ironic reference to LBJ is right in line with this. When you write something like "sound too harsh?" after summarizing the logic of a fuckhead like Kevin Drum, it doesn't matter to them. They are not blind or unaware of their own calculus.

    Its hilarious how he favorably compares Bush's base to Obama because Bush's base had more loyalty to Bush. The most telling statement of his is the ask LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton line about how opposition to their policies from the left strengthened /weakened liberalism because it betrays a deep seated authoritarian mindset. Those party leaders are the definition of liberalism, whatever they say it is and however they judge its qualities. He did not overlook LBJ's ignominious end, that is the point of what Drum is saying.

    You wrote all of this, I know, but I am stressing it because Drum is not a "naive sucker." You are assuming that since his self-definition as a moral liberal and his support for charring people around the globe are mutually exclusive. Being a moral liberal has nothing to do with what you consider morality, opposing violence and oppression, the measure of a liberals morality is ha measure of their support for the 'liberal' party and its leaders and that's it. If liberal leaders says or does x, then its moral to support x too if you are a liberal.

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  5. You know how you can tell that Paul is more progressive than Obama? The Power Elite doesn't support Paul.

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  6. Alaya3:50 PM

    This post is so good that I'm half-entertaining the thought of sending it to my "disappointed" but Obama-phile friends.

    And then ducking, I guess.

    I've always thought that the point that (domestically) ending the drug war would do more to help the poor and disenfranchised than a hundred much-touted-then-compromised democratic policy positions to be one of the strongest arguments in favor of supporting kooky libertarians.

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  7. You've stated exactly - perfectly why RP would never win!
    I'm amazed on a daily basis the number of intelligent libs who refuse to see and hear past obama's face and voice.

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  8. Damn good post. But don't assume decrying Paul is somehow giving Obama a free pass. Obama's single biggest failing, IMO, is that he seems genuinely blinded by the fruit salad on a military jacket. There is no question that he has failed us on this front.

    But as for Paul, I fear two very large things, amongst many others... One is that his actions will result in the deaths of many more Americans than we have killed Iraqis or Afghanis. The other is that he wouldn't really stop killing Iraqis and Afghanis anyway.

    If you believe that he is so principled that he will act on all of his pronouncements then I suggest you are as naive as any Obamaphile. Case in point, Paul now says he wants to move abortion legislation to the states. But he has also stated that Roe v. Wade was damaging to the Constitution, and it is entirely obvious that moving legislation to the states is just code for banning abortion. He thus proves himself to be a dissembling politician like every other.

    He also wants to allow school prayer, supports the teaching of creationism in schools, supports home schooling (read religious mental abuse of children), is for spending tax dollars to support christian schools, essentially eliminating the barrier between church and state. He fights any controls on CO2 emissions, votes against any kind of support for energy conservation or renewable energy sources, is against medical care for children (even voted against establishing the AMBER alert system), is extremely pro-gun rights, wants to abolish medicaid in favor of pro bono treatment (sure, that's going to work), is vehemently opposed to any kind of national healthcare, wants to eliminate social security, and is an Ayn Rand true believer (reason enough for me to despise him).

    I'm for legalizing *all* drugs, period. I'm for getting out of *all* wars, period. I applaud Paul for his recent rebuke of the whole Sharia law nonsense. But if Paul has his way, the death toll amongst the poor and the sick is likely to surpass those in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I'm sorry, but I don't believe he'd do all the good and wonderful things you seem so ready to credit him with. It's easy to say "I will end the war"--hell, Obama said it; it seems always to be different once in office, and expecting Paul to be any different is seriously naive.

    What I think you *can* count on Paul to do is eliminate the commonwealth--literally, the common wealth. Medicare, medicaid, social security... These are the bugaboos for him. 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. And I have no doubt they will.

    I think the "false dichotomy" here is yours--Paul to end the war, Obama to continue it. Obama deserves every bad thing you've said about him for failing to end these wars. Good luck if you think Paul is going to be any different on that front, and you'll get what you deserve if he's elected (unless you're a billionaire, in which case you'll chortle all the way to the bank).

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  9. Well, there is the tiny difference that if Paul got elected president, none of his goals would be accomplished except, maybe, yanking the US out of the thicket of presidential wars that we're in. It would embarrass the Democrats if a Republican did all of the despicable things they wanted to do themselves, and it would kill the goose that laid the golden eggs for the Republicans, so you can pretty much guarantee that he'd be Carterised into irrelevance.

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  10. Wow! Sincere thanks from a long-time RP supporter. My eyes are still bugging out a bit after reading that on Counterpunch, which I generally read for its excellent Power Elite analysis (and disregard for it's naive "progressivism").

    Paul has stated repeatedly that his campaigns are primarily educational and, with a lot of help from the continuing economic disaster, has been wildly successful in taking his ideas to the general public. His greatest impact (so far) has been to expose the Elites own contradictions and incoherence against itself, as in his performance in the last Republican primary and especially the debates. He exposed the other candidates as the lying hypocrites and moral midgets they are, and is perfectly poised to do it again.

    I can't see the PTB letting him anywhere near the Presidency, so the left should really hold off on the hysterical screaming about racism, Ayn Rand, etc. at least until he's through spanking the people's true enemies - neocons, "Christian" warmongers, banksters, jailers and fascists.

    Personally, because I detest Republicans, I want to see him run third party. I'm very dubious, but Paul thinks the system can be reformed, or restored. People of good will should get behind him.

    Thanks again, Charles, for your open eyes and open mind.

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  11. Best Quote Every: "Seriously: what the fuck? Social Security's great and all I guess, but not exploding little children with cluster bombs – shouldn't that be at the top of the Liberal Agenda?"

    This is the Charles Davis we know and love in excellent form. Thanks sir.

    Also Larryy? Are you actually against homeschooling? Really? WTF? Religious Mental Abuse? Right, god forbid, parents and students learn what they want to learn in the way they want to learn. we gotta regulate that shit! kids should hate school and school should be a like a mass holding cell!

    jeffbbz

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  12. I'm sure that homeschooling is wonderful for the wealthy who can afford tutors and the religious separatists who've got wives who are willing to tutor their children on top of all of the other chores, but I'm not so certain that it's particularly good for the children.

    But, hey, they're your unique little snowflakes, and they might be tainted if they spend so much as a minute away from parental influence, particularly with the /wrong/ sort of people.

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  13. I just found this website and I'm generally very encouraged by the level of discourse (generally).
    As far as home schooling -
    We home school our daughter. What a wonderful experience it has been and for her. Not only do we not bring religion into the fray, heck we don't even go to church ourselves, but we have made it clear to her that she is responsible for her learning and she has stepped up to the plate in grand fashion and now she actually enjoys learning. Wow! Earlier this year she opted out of home schooling so she could participate in the folly of high school social activities, but that lasted about 4 weeks before she realized that public schools are factories. Cow in one end, canned corned beef out the other end.
    This was the 1st piece by Mr. Davis that I read and I was very thrilled by his open mindedness. Ron Paul has high ideals. He's an idealist for sure and the fact that he gets so much flack for having such high ideals is really a sad testament to how severe the mind control has been for years and years and generations. As far as his position on abortion? I certainly support the idea that the federal government should not be funding such. I don't and wouldn't advocate making it illegal but I can tell you this - you can't appreciate the gravity of abortion until you've been involved in the process. I'm 57 and 32 years ago I twisted my ex-wifes arm to have an abortion (we were dead broke) and she came out of the process and said to me words that I'll never forget; "It was a girl" and I can tell you that to this day, I miss that little girl. I've never met her but I know somewhere deep down in my heart she would have been special and if it would have been just a little harder to get the procedure done I might have changed my mind. The real difference between RP and the rest of the obama-cons is that his philosophical view of the world starts with a fundamental trust in the ability of people to control their own destiny and do it responsibly and successfully. Look, he's also the only one in the field to also stand firm on the FED, and fractional reserve banking which is really at the heart of our current economic woes. This is why Obama's plan or Congressman Ryan's plan are both non starters and will never, ever solve our debt problem. As long as money=debt we'll forever be in a downward economic spiral. RP has been saying these things for years and years and years and I would point you to an interview he did in 1988 with Frank Morrow called "The American Power Structure (http://projectcamelot.info/3025/ron-paul-the-american-power-structure-1988/) and the tune he was singing then is the same tune he's singing now. The problem is that RP is such a threat to the elites that they'd have to take him out. The world is what we make it and though RP isn't 'perfect' there never will be a 'perfect' candidate, but would you rather have 4 more from Obama? Or Romney?
    Anyway, thanks for letting me share. I wish you all well.
    Dan

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  14. The reason that Democrats so readily abandon their principle—assuming that their man is in charge—is because they are more afraid of "the other guys" (the Republicans) than they are passionate about what they believe is right.

    Both ends of the political spectrum intentionally exaggerate the threat of the other side to motivate their base to come to them for refuge. In seeking refuge, people jettison their beliefs.

    I discuss this irrational fear of the other guys on my blog.

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  15. Wonderfully witty piece. Question: let's imagine Paul is elected president and puts an end to the wars and dismantles a substantial number of the bases. He then signs into law bills passed by a repub house and senate abolishing social security, medicare, medicaid, the EPA, and the department of education, and moves to privatize all publicly owned land. Would this outcome be a net plus, or a net negative?

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  16. "...is for spending tax dollars to support christian schools"

    i highly doubt that. link?
    all the other points - you can agree with them or not, his philosophy is NO COERCION. e.g. he's not saying he wants creationism to be taught in schools, he says schools should be free to teach whatever they want. parents will sort out which type of school they want to send their children to.
    why do people always assume that people would act like animals, zealots or psychopaths in the absence of government intervention?

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  17. Huh. I would have voted for Ron Paul if that'd been an option. But he was never going to get the nomination, because he's too liberal.

    The libertarian/progressive split in this country is a tragedy of epic proportions. The majority of Americans agree on nearly everything; the difference between a libertarian ideology and a progressive ideology divides us, but the reality is that we agree on almost everything important.

    This cuts both ways, though. As progressives, we ought to have supported Ron, but there wasn't much we could do, because there's just no way a libertarian is ever going to get the Republican nomination, any more than a progressive is going to get the Democratic nomination.

    The only way I see to solve this problem is for progressives and libertarians to stop being so dogmatic and start supporting each others' candidates. If we could get some non-corporate-captured people in office, stop these stupid wars and stupid prohibitions, and start managing the country properly, *then* it would make sense for us to start having our debates about propertarianism versus collectivism.

    But at this point, the corporatists are using the Republican/Democrat dichotomy, which has nothing to do with progressivism or libertarianism, to divide us so that we never get together and actually get anything done.

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  18. You might be interested in this: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/

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  19. Thank you - first time on this site - great couple articles on here I perused - will come back - cheers

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  20. JeffBBz said...
    Are you actually against homeschooling?

    Daniel Latrimurti said...
    We home school our daughter. What a wonderful experience it has been...

    It's strange that homeschooling would be singled out from the litany of problems I listed with Paul's agenda, but, yes, I am against it, sort of. Given Daniel's statements, I strongly suspect he and his wife are doing an excellent job of homeschooling their daughter. Good on them. But homeschooling is not usually so benign. Standards range from modest to non-existent. Only 28 states require homeschooled children to undergo any kind of evaluation (if that; that number comes from 2004 and under Bush Jr. homeschooling was actively pushed to satisfy the christian fundamentalists). 13 states only require parents to inform the state that they are going to homeschool their children. Texas doesn't require anyone to tell anybody anything. Homeschooling was illegal until 1981. And the main reason the restrictions on homeschooling have been eliminated is the power of the christian right.

    http://www.economist.com/node/2459411

    While parents taking an interest in their children's education is something no one can argue against, I do not think it acceptable for 1 in 25 American students to be taught that the world is 6,000 years old, that humans rode dinosaurs, and that killing muslims and atheists is okay because by not being christian they are somehow sub-human. So, yes, I am against *unregulated*, untested, unfiltered homeschooling. And, no, I do not think it is a parent's right to teach their children fairy tales as fact, and I do consider it a form of abuse. (I was raised Southern Baptist, and know all to well what I'm talking about.) We wouldn't let parents abuse their children physically; I do not believe we should allow them to do so mentally.

    I understand this is meddling. So is forcing states to let African Americans vote. Or to let women vote, for that matter. Individualism and deregulation are great, up until they cause real harm, just as swinging your fist is fine, right up until it connects with someone else's nose. On matters of major moral significance affecting the lives of everyone in the country (and the world, ultimately, as these students grow up and make decisions about how to interact with others), as much as I believe in individual freedoms, I also believe the federal government has a responsibility to enforce certain basic human rights and responsibilities, rather than let the nation devolve into pockets of bigotry, ignorance, and repression. You may disagree, and that's your right. But this is the only moral choice as far as I can see.

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  21. John said...
    "...is for spending tax dollars to support christian schools"
    i highly doubt that. link?

    http://www.ontheissues.org/ron_paul.htm

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  22. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Paul has often said that there needs to be a transition to ending the welfare state- in other words, don't let the thing collapse but let people opt out. Use the money from the military budget to make sure nobody ends up on the street who depend on these things. At the rate we're going at though, there will be a budget crisis and there won't be any choice- people will be kicked out on the street.

    Among libertarians there's a huge dismay that the left went quiet on the war issue after Obama was elected. I've personally sensed Obama's own approach to foreign policy to be even worse than Bush in that he talks the talk but has pursued a comparably bloody foreign policy- the extreme disconnect between reality and rhetoric is unsettling to say the least. Bush was at least a little more straightforward with his militarism.

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  23. Anonymous7:37 AM

    I am a Libertarian and a Christian, so strike one and two against me, I guess, based on some of the commentators here. NEvertheless, I am very pleased by the article on Ron Paul; I often wonder how my friends who are progressives can decry corporatism but not question the Federal Reserve and the cozy relationship that has evolved between obama and Wall Street.

    On the home schooling thing - Larryy, have you ever met a homeschooler (or, hell, a Christian for that matter)? Some of the homeschooling families I know are creationist, but not a one of them is inculcating their children with the bloodthirsty hatred of Muslims. The state is bombing muslims. The state is providing public educaton. The state has military recruiters in their state schools. There are no recruiters in any of my friends houses. Homeschooling - even Christian homeschooling - is not hateschooling. Don't project your hatred of some Christians against all of us; that is no more acceptable than hating all Jews because you don't like Zionism. That is bigotry, not a political position. And furthermore, you don't have a right to yank kids out of their parents' home because you do not like their politics. That isn't progressive, pal, it is fascist.

    I am a libertarian - and a Pual supporter - because I mean to leave other people the hell alone and mean for my family to be left alone by people who want to use the coercive power of the state against me. got it, Larryy?

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  24. Anonymous8:38 AM

    F A N T A S T I C ! ! ! A rousing 'HUZZAH' for you my good man!

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  25. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Okay, Ron Paul's policies on drugs and foreign intervention are fantastic. If I could cross those traits of his and social policies of Obama, I would vote for that person in a second. But barring dramatic medical advances, that's not possible.

    So, given a choice between both men as they are, not picking and choosing policies, who do you choose? Are you saying you would vote for Ron Paul and support ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the FDA, OSHA... essentially pushing all existing federal regulation to the state level?

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  26. There's always SO much optimism-until the politician actually gets into office and is alone with all of that power.

    Ron could get elected and within a year the exact same things will be written about him...

    Change the system-completely. Stop shuffling politicians and whining about why they behave badly.

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  27. Anonymous9:42 AM

    larryy,

    So you think the government that actually DOES murder Muslims has the right to forcibly remove children from their homes and educate them in your preferred doctrines?

    Sure, public schools don't teach creationism (not yet, anyway). But they do celebrate "Earth Day" and teach children to worship Gaia. They also tell kids that Abraham Lincoln fought a Civil War to free the slaves and FDR saved capitalism. Are some fairy tales more acceptable than others?

    As for homeschooling being illegal until 1981, it is still illegal in Germany, since being made so by Hitler. You are in good company.

    I don't understand the statists' obsession with control. They need to control everything, including what other people's kids are taught. They think they are sole keepers of The One Truth and have the right to impose it on others. They are like the religious extremists they deride so much, forcing conversions to their faith at the point of a sword.

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  28. David in Qatar9:56 AM

    This is a great post. I was happy to link back to it from my blog.

    I want to add a few notes since I've been doing this dance for a while now.

    1. Ron Paul cannot end Medicare, Social Security, or any other safety net you have worked for, if elected President. He can only attempt to persuade Congress to do so. Then it will be up to you to fight tooth and nail to keep it.

    2. Ron Paul does not want to end these safety nets immediately. He wants to give young people the chance to opt out. He has maintained his stance for a long time that he would end the wars first, and use the savings to keep the welfare system going.

    3. The welfare (and warfare) systems are made possible by the Federal Reserve. If you want to end any government waste at all, no matter your ideology, you have to go after the printing press. If you don't, they will slowly and then surely bankrupt us all through inflation. If our current trajectory stays true, we will all need a safety net, only there will be no one left to pay for it.

    4. The war issue should be foremost in all American's minds, Repub or Dem or Independent. It's the most serious moral issue. It's the most dangerous to our future. If we don't stop this endless senseless killing, we will destroy our currency and the moral fabric of the nation.

    5. It's a small sample, but my liberal friends are very receptive to Ron Paul and would love to see a Paul-Kucinich ticket. They all swear they would cast their vote that way, and I have no choice but to believe them.

    6. Changing the subject to homeschooling, one no longer needs money to give their kids a homeschooled education. In fact, no parent in America has an excuse any longer. Websites like www.khanacademy.org are completely destroying the traditional education concept. If you've never visited Khan's site, I implore you have a look. Certainly, tutoring and special needs are still in demand, but beyond that the entire educational paradigm has shifted to low-cost and no-cost education that is significantly better than standard public school (and even some private school) instruction.

    Thanks for a great read.

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  29. Anonymous10:22 AM

    I am at a complete loss of words to describe how some people can take the simplicity of Ron Paul's message and turn it into some boogaboo fear trap that we may fall into.

    The man has been clear and steadfast on his message for over 30 years. Quit inventing crap like "he wants to get rid of social security and medicaid,etc."
    What he wants to do is give us an OPTION to invest in our future or continue on the governmental "retirement" plan. Given that social security is operating in the red, I would opt for taking care of my own security.

    As for Medicare and medicaid, how do you suggest we fund that????

    It's quite clear to me that Ron Paul doesn't intend to throw people out into the streets as some of you fear mongers want to fantasize but with monies now being diverted from the multiple wars and bases around the world, prosperity would now not be an issue and SOME programs might be kept for the welfare of Americans and not for the destruction of life.

    See how simple the truth can be.

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  30. Anonymous10:28 AM

    TPTB are very frightened by what Mr.Paul represents; Freedom,Liberty, and the rule of law, for ALL people-No more "Animal Farm" rules, I mean it's all in the Constitution-Bill of Rights which Mr.Paul represents, check out his voting record (I did) why do you think they call him Doctor No? cause he's not of the Status quot. Strictly Constitutional he is, and why not? since it worked well, until perverted and inevitably compromised like "Boiling Frogs".IMO US needs to go Back to the basics of that document which were well founded by very intelligent peoples wanting a gov "For and By the people" and banning the yoke of tyranny like we have today, not to mention the "Wars", Assassinations, Empire building, AND bailouts of failed companies on YOUR dime!
    (more like 40k each? soon to be a cool Mil?) Mr. Paul would have none of that (Ban The Fed!), he is not supported by big corps (unlike Obama and 99% on both sides). only by people like you and me.
    I will vote for the first time ever (no other candidate has been worthy of it:D) at 55 yrs,for Mr. Paul, and I would hope, (god willing) that Mr. Paul would continue to walk the walk that he has been on for so long *other wise all bets are off and I revolt*
    However my major concern would be for his life, how long would he be allowed to live or remain in some position of (maybe) real power were it so? JFK is one thought that springs to mind :(
    Ya gotta think about it, why do they literally ban him from debates and the MSM? A crackpot or a threat?.

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  31. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Ron Paul would end all the wars. Obama and the Repubs support endless Wars for Israel, it all started nearly a decade ago under a false flag attack.
    9/11 and Israel, here:
    http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

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  32. Anonymous1:17 PM

    well I think first one reason alot of movment dems don't like him is because he's competition! If your issues are abortion rights, unions and other issues there is very little risk of you defecting to his side. If you are any number of other types, the guys never changing platform speaks for itself. Most people are touched by at least on of the things he's good on: the war on drugs, the war on terror, inflation, etc

    Also, sites like DU, while a great resource for various democrat causes and well within its rights in not allowing out and out republican types of threads, have led to a kind of groupthink that is unhealthy and creepy. I was reading a thread there today about the police going after amish farmers for selling raw milk. There were some intersting ocmments but some of them were like "what are you a tea bagger. why post this". What's up with that?

    Maybe ther is a good reason there is little liberal libertarianism outside of Glenn Greenwald and way more on the right but I don't know it.

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  33. Anonymous2:19 PM

    The US doesn't use cluster-bombs you cluster-twit. Ron Paul talks the talk, but he'd be frozen in place once he got in--the libertarian dream is certainly further away and more dangerous than the democratic socialist dream.

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  34. The US doesn't use cluster-bombs you cluster-twit.

    "Amnesty International provided the media with photographs of the aftermath of the Abyan strike in June this year, including remnants of US-sourced cluster munitions and the Tomahawk cruise missiles used to deliver them."

    See: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/wikileaks-cable-corroborates-evidence-us-airstrikes-yemen-2010-12-01

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  35. Anyone But Obama!6:13 PM

    I'd campaign for Satan at this point, if he could deliver on the promises to end the foreign occupations and NATO bombings.

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. Call me insane (it must be my anarchy), but I must say I have never understood why the left hates libertarians so much. There are certainly strong points of disagreement, but why can't we accept all the awesome great parts and just ignore or criticize what we don't like? We could do that instead of just demonizing, going crazy, calling them libertards (seriously? welcome to 2nd grade...) and fleeing from them as if they are the worst invention of all time.

    But then i suppose that would require having real beliefs not partisan assface fakery.

    seriously, libertarians are great about war, government stupidity, war on drugs, police and prisons, freedom of speech and plenty of other topics. Most of them are also very anti-coercion which should be, but for some reason isn't, popular with the anti-war/nonviolence crowd. some of them even care about the poor much more than many progressives (of course, caring about the poor TM being the supposed main belief of progressives, this is a no no that must be attacked or at least strongly ignored)

    of course they libertarians love capitalism too much and have other problems but i suspect the real problem for obamaprogressives is that libertarians (however right or wrong) actually seem to believe what they say and act on what they believe. I also suppose that while republicans are just to absurd to pose any real threat to watertreading liberalism, libertarians can tempt the faithful to "gasp" criticize his holiness the president or other democratic policies and persons. which as we can see in the recent attacks on greenwald, is the only real sin that matters in times of apparent progressive power.

    reason magazine and radley balko ought not be dirty words or the enemy. They ought to be allies that we sometimes disagree with or laugh at.

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  38. Anonymous12:06 AM

    Found you and the present column at lewrockwell.com; clicked through to counterpunch, which I often read, for the same reasons as racketmench: that is, for Counterpunche's excellent power elite analysis, disregarding its naive progressivism. (And I'd have put all of that last in quotes, racketmench, but your own words just had too many parentheses and quotes for me to unpack.)

    Anyway, after reading the column, I inserted my very brief comment and linked to your Ron Paul-Obama piece on my Facebook page.

    Predictably, I had not much response, aside from one genuine friend of mine (who happens to also be a Facebook "friend").

    So this is maybe too much history, when my point is first, just to say that I've never enjoyed the quality of comments following an essay as much as the comments here, now.

    But second, I've included that Facebook exchange I mentioned, hoping for further comment.

    So, from Facebook:

    Keeping in mind that I don't recommend voting, as politics is the means by which you overpower those whom you can't convince, nevertheless:

    Charles Davis: Is Ron Paul More Progressive Than Obama?
    (www.counterpunch.org

    And my friend's comment:

    So Doug- what's the alternative to voting?

    My first reply:

    Did you read the Davis piece, Bob? And to your question, I'm guessing you want a short answer?
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Yes Doug, i read the Davis piece: though it powerfully lambasted Obama i never found any mention of alternatives to voting- unless my reading comprehension has gone the way of my hairline or I'm just too dull to catch the oblique references. I'll take any explanation- long or short- and would be particularly impressed if it covered conflicting sides of the issue. I've never discussed this matter before--not even with you.

    6 hours ago · LikeUnlike

    Me:

    About voting--I misspoke: nothing wrong with voting, per se, only with political voting... politics... government. Voting within a church group or Toastmasters, for example, is fine. Only in politics does the winning group enforce its will upon the rest through compulsion, if necessary.

    But you asked, “alternatives?” And to begin an answer, I ask in reply, why do we need alternatives to THAT? When did using force to accomplish our aims make it up onto the table as an acceptable option at all?

    We all kind of go along with the idea that ends don’t justify means. But we leave blank spaces, unacknowledged areas in life where we live in contradiction with that principle, such as after a majority vote, or a government decree. In those places, we are taught, anything goes, INCLUDING the use of force to secure compliance with (whatever) decrees.

    So. Alternatives?

    Civilization grows up WHEREVER we refrain from bending our neighbors to our will. Thus as an alternative I might suggest... whatever is voluntary! And workable or not, this leaves hundreds of millions of us free to act according to our own inner guidance, none of us subject to those–fewer in number–who would play God, presuming to direct the lives of others.

    Even to speak of ends and means confuses things. All we ever have is the present moment. Thus the means we choose become the ends we obtain. No matter how dramatically we might point to some glorious future goal, if our hands are bloody, then we are living moment by moment in blood.

    And any moment is a fine moment to renounce violence, to renounce politics.

    See More
    5 hours ago · Like

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  39. Scott M3:26 PM

    Interesting article but since Ron Paul has never been Commander-in-Chief, it's an inept comparison. Put him in the Big Chair and I'm sure he'd be involved in plenty of acts, operations and situations he would never have imagined or wanted to be in.

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  40. I'll take the sane man over the raving racist lunatic

    Again, Paul's faults merely underscore the awfulness of Barack Obama, who -- unlike a certain racist loon -- supports a status quo that has imprisoned hundreds of thousands of poor minorities for non-violent drug offenses. In fact, Obama hasn't so much as pardoned a single victim of the disastrous war on drugs that Paul has long forcefully opposed. There's nothing sane or "progressive" about that.

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  41. Steven5:21 AM

    "John said...
    "...is for spending tax dollars to support christian schools"
    i highly doubt that. link?

    http://www.ontheissues.org/ron_paul.htm"

    larryy,

    Thank you for providing the link that you presume is a smoking gun. I'm sorry to say that it is not. The lists provided on that site are largely generalizations of Yes/No answers to questions that can be interpreted a number of different ways. This is a "defense" that I afford not only to Ron Paul, but any other candidate listed on that site, included Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

    Simply put, they're good for a very broad, general understanding of candidates, but any detailed understanding must still be weeded out, independently.

    For the line regarding "spending tax dollars to support christian schools", if you click the link that says "full quotes on education" you can see the full context of the question that he answers "Yes" to. Leave aside the broad stroke answer of "Yes" to questions that deserve deeper discussion, and you're still wrong, sorta.

    What it comes down to is either a misunderstanding of the meaning of the term tax-credit or you equate tax credits with "spending tax dollars". If you're a victim of the former, that's understandable since the language can be confusing. If you're a proponent of the latter, then you're being disingenuous, because Ron Paul does NOT equate tax-credits with "spending tax dollars", and my honorable opinion is that he's correct. Allowing individuals to keep more of their own money so that they're free to spend it how they wish, in this case Christian Schooling, is not spending tax dollars to support an institution (such as big-ag and big-oil subsidies). You may disagree, and I think I understand why, if you do, but if you do disagree, then your argument should not be that he "...is for spending tax dollars to support christian schools", which seems to me to be more an attack attempting to paint him as a religious bigot (which he's not, he also favors tax credits for home and private schools of any ilk), instead you should be arguing why tax credits are the same as "spending tax dollars" in an attempt to point out ideological inconsistencies.

    Here is the full question posed to candidates, via the above link, for others who may be interested:

    Q: I’m 17, and I’m the product of school choice. In the public schools I repeated the 7th grade three times, because of my deficiency in math & English. My mother then sent me to New Generation, a Christian school. After one year, my math improved 5 grade levels, and my English improved 3. Will you support school choice for other students like me with similar tax-credit programs?

    HUCKABEE: Yes.
    TANCREDO: Yes.
    COX: Yes.
    BROWNBACK: Yes.
    PAUL: Yes.
    HUNTER: Yes.
    KEYES: Yes.

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  42. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Got here via Tom Woods' site. Good to see there are still real progressives out there.

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  43. Anonymous4:24 PM

    you all miss the mark because you all came out of the grind-house schools. Read the deliberate dumbing down of america and open your eyes. Sounds like you all get your news from the MSM

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  44. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Wow this is a stupid article. If you run for president then you are running to be a "murderer" according to this article's description. There is not a single president who didn't have someone's blood on their hands.

    Because when you run a country as large, influential and with as many enemies as the united states you are going to have make choices where either way people are going to die. Through action or inaction people will die. Maybe not immediately but through inaction as much as through action. And either way someone is going to accuse you of being a "murderer".

    If Ron Paul were elected he would be signing orders just like all his predecessors. It should be the duty and burden of every elected president to take decisions in a rational, calculated, informed manner that protects the interests of the United States, minimize deaths. And if he didn't, if he took some stance of inaction then he is derelict in his duties. And people will still die, probably a lot more than if he acted according to the purpose of his office.

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  45. Great article with loads of good reasons for choosing Paul over Obame, and it even missed out my favourite one:

    Citizen's rights! Obama wants unlimited executive power over US citizens (indefinite detention without evidence, judicial oversight or a trial) which, even if he treats it perfectly, will still be there for other presidents, one of who will misuse it.

    Any politician voting for the USA PATRIOT Act or the NDAA should be charged with treason. They swear to uphold the Constitution and these two Acts are in direct violation of that document.

    What use Social Security or MedicAid when the government can come to your house and lock you up for ever without trial because they made a mistake with your fingerprints: http://finger-prints.com/fingerprinterror1.html The only reason that innocent guy is free is because NDAA hadn't passed yet.

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  46. I wish more seemingly intelligent liberals would learn a little something about libertarianism and the fact that leftism is what's ruining this country.

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  47. Really enjoyed this and I overall share your view. Thank you.

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