Today’s review is going to be on Ron Paul, easily one of the most controversial of the 2012 Republican candidates. I say controversial because it seems as if there are only two schools of thought concerning Ron Paul – you either love him or you hate him.
Paul’s positions on several issues are right out of the conservative handbook, and he fiercely defends those positions. If nothing else, Ron Paul cannot be called wishy-washy. He Pro-Life and believes that “beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society.” He is also in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.
That being said, however, Paul is a supporter of embryonic stem cell research, which is anathema to most conservatives, and seemingly in direct contradiction to his stance that “a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection.” I am not sure how one can protect an embryo, while at the same time using it for medical research. Perhaps I’m missing something.
Ron Paul has what I believe to be a semi-accurate, although somewhat naïve view of our role in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other areas of the Middle East. He has stated that if he were president he would order the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan, regardless of what any military experts or flag officers may say or think. While he is absolutely correct (in my opinion) that our mission in Afghanistan has evolved from apprehending bin Laden and his lackeys to installing a government of our choosing and rebuilding their political system (presumably to create a viable military ally). The problem with this “mission” in Afghanistan is that they will never be a viable ally – but that subject is better left for another article. Suffice to say, Ron Paul is a strict, uncompromising non-interventionist (note, this is not the same as an isolationist and should not be confused as such).
Paul’s stand on the budget is very straightforward and direct. He believes that the United States should live within its means and pay down the deficit, just like every American should. He says that we have come to accept being in debt as the norm, and that we do so to our own detriment. Paul goes on to say that of the government continues to deny the true depth of the recession, then the recession will only get worse.
Ron Paul is against bailing out private corporations and is also against government seeking to control or becoming majority stockholders in any private corporations.
In addition to being a strict non-interventionist with regard to foreign policy, Paul is also a staunch non-interventionist with regard to the federal government’s role with regard to civil liberties. Paul is a literal adherent to the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. For those not overly familiar with these amendments, they read:
“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (9th) The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (10th)”
Ron Paul’s literal adherence to these amendments dictates his stand on the many civil liberties American’s now enjoy, and often to the point of invalidating or limiting what the Declaration of Independence calls “inalienable rights,” those being “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Paul believes that government should not interfere with the gay and lesbian agenda, i.e. same sex marriages. Paul believes the federal government should not create laws prohibiting illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and others, and he also believes the federal government should not enact legislation prohibiting prostitution. This is not to say that he condones these things, but that the government, the federal government has no right to limit or prohibit these things because the Constitution does not specifically prohibit these things. Paul believes that the legality or prohibition of these things should be left up to the individual states, and only the individual states have the right to legalize or prohibit them. I personally believe that this stand, while seemingly supported by the ninth and tenth amendments, has the very real potential to open a Pandora’s box of problems (many of them exceedingly expensive), that I do not believe Ron Paul can truly conceive of.
Paul has gone on to say the federal government does not have the Constitutional authority to enact or enforce affirmative action laws, hate speech, abortion or pro-life rights, as well as other rights Americans currently enjoy that various states have indicated they would remove were it not for the federal government preventing them from doing so. In essence, Paul naively believes that the severe limitation of the federal government in our lives with promote liberty, which in turn will promote peace, which will in turn promote prosperity. As tempting as this utopian dream seems, Paul fails to take into account those within our society, many of whom are in state government, who will take advantage of this to promote their own selfish agendas to the detriment of the very people Paul is purporting to protect.
On the other hand, Paul is also a staunch advocate of the second amendment, and has gone on record as wanting to repeal “unconstitutional laws that allow power-hungry federal bureaucrats to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Specifically, … the five-day waiting period and the “instant” background check, which enables the federal government to compile a database of every gun owner in America.” Paul goes on to call for the repeal of “the misnamed ban on “semi-automatic” weapons, which bans entire class of firearms for no conceivable reason beside the desire of demagogic politicians to appear tough on crime.” Paul also calls for the amending of the Gun Control Act of 1968 by “deleting the “sporting purposes” test, which allows the Treasury Secretary to infringe on second amendment rights by classifying a firearm (handgun, rifle, shotgun) as a “destructive device” simply because the Secretary believes the gun to be ‘non-sporting’.”
Paul opposes any attempts made by the government to “disarm the citizenry,” and has very correctly said (as evidenced by the increasing mob violence sweeping across America) “In our own country, we should be ever vigilant against any attempts to disarm the people, especially in this economic downturn. I expect violent crime to rise sharply in the coming days, and as states and municipalities are even more financially strained, the police will be even less able or willing to respond to crime. In many areas, local police could become more and more absorbed with revenue generating activities, like minor traffic violations and the asset forfeiture opportunities of non-violent drug offenses. Your safety has always, ultimately been your own responsibility, but never more so than now. People have a natural right to defend themselves. Governments that take that away from their people should be highly suspect.”
As a result of Ron Paul’s literal and unwavering interpretation of the Constitution, he has also gone on record as advocating for the partial, and in some cases complete, disbanding and abolishment of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the CIA, the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, FEMA, and the IRS.
Paul also advocates the abolishment of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, calling them “unconstitutional.” He has called for an end to the federal war on drugs, as well as federal prosecutions of obscenity crimes (presumably including child pornography and other pedophilic acts), an end to most foreign aid (including to Israel), the Patriot Act, and “No Child Left Behind.” He also wants America to pull out of the United Nations, NATO, the International Criminal Court, and most international trade agreements.
Paul’s insistence on a literal interpretation of the ninth and tenth amendments, and the resulting relinquishment of responsibility to the states, would allow for the possibility of state extremism on an unprecedented scale. States would be able to prohibit gay marriage, prayer in school, and abortion. States could also allow sharia law to be instituted in state run courts regardless of the wishes of the people of that state. States could also allow crack houses, meth labs, marijuana farms and houses of prostitution and the states could allow them next door to churches, synagogues, mosques, and schools as well.
Ron Paul’s “Taft Republican” policy of strict non-interventionism has also led him to say that he would not have allowed the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, and that rather than ordering the raid, he would have asked Pakistan for their permission to arrest him instead.
In my opinion, although some of Ron Paul’s policies are very enticing, and admittedly I agree and support some of his views, his vision of a severely limited federal government would serve only to endanger America and American’s. Dr. Paul, it is not that we need no government, it’s that we need a better government.