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A Fair Counterpoint on Ron Paul

Andrew Sullivan and Conor Friedersdorf make a very reasonable argument about Ron Paul and racism. Whatever personal feelings he might have on the subject, they correctly point out, he is the only candidate from either party to support a number of policies that would do a great deal to reduce inequality and discrimination in our criminal justice system.

He is the only candidate that advocates ending the war on drugs, which has resulted in astonishing racial inequality in our criminal justice system. Drug use among black people is no different than white people, yet they are arrested, convicted and imprisoned at far higher rates. The numbers are absolutely staggering. On marijuana, for example, a higher percentage of whites use the drug than either blacks or Latinos, but arrest rates for possession are nearly three times higher for the racial minorities than for whites. Blacks make up about 13% of the population but they comprise 37% of all drug arrests, 59% of convictions and 74% of prison sentences for it. And Ron Paul is alone among the candidates of either party in wanting to end that destructive policy.

He’s also the only candidate who wants to abolish the death penalty, which is also administered in clearly discriminatory ways. And the only candidate who supports a range of criminal justice reforms, including giving all convicted criminals access to DNA testing that could prove their innocence. President Obama, on the other hand, argued against doing so in a Supreme Court case. He also argued in favor of absolute prosecutorial immunity. His record on such issues is as bad as his record on nearly all civil liberties.

Ron Paul may be a racist, but he does support policies that would make a huge difference in the lives of racial minorities in this country and make this a much less unequal nation. Should that change anyone’s mind about supporting him? That’s up to each person to decide. for me, I still can’t support him. But let’s at least put that information on the table to be considered along with everything else. Friedersdorf’s article, in particular, is typically thoughtful and rational.

Comments

  1. raymoscow says

    I agree that most drug laws are a very bad idea, and their selective (racist!) enforcement is even worse. But erasing our drug laws while also erasing our civil-rights laws doesn’t seem like a net benefit to minorities.

    I also agree with Paul that our warmongering is bad.

    He’s still a dangerous nut and wrong about everything else.

  2. says

    Well look, neither of those things is going to happen. Drugs are not going to be legalized in this country for the foreseeable future and the civil rights laws are never going to be changed. So all of this is really just about normative arguments over policy, not about reality.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Would a President Paul move from talking about positions favorable to people victimized by current policy to actually using the powers of the office of presidency to positively and substantially effect change in these areas? Rep. Paul’s whole career has been spent talking rather than affecting change; so I perceive no reason to think he’d be any different as president.

    His hiring one of the most anti-gay advocates in our nation’s history as his Iowa campaign director demonstrates his false commitment to equal rights even for gays, that his being described as “principled” instead is merely the result of his being a superior actor at playing principled. [I cringe by the fact this bigot shares my name.]

    Andrew Sullivan’s counter to my point is that Rep. Paul can’t win the presidency, but his campaign rhetoric would help reform the Republican party into something better than its current state. I instead think the exact opposite would occur where recent history is on my side. That Rep. Paul would lose badly to President Obama, encouraging conservatives to point at Paul’s failure as just one more reason to demand an ever-purer fundamentalist form of conservatism just like they said and actually did after Sen. McCain’s loss.

  4. d cwilson says

    If neither legalizing pot nor repealing the Civial Rights Act are going to happen any time soon, then I don’t see why anyone should base their vote on either of these issues. I doubt a President Paul would even have a major impact on the unequal manner in which the drug laws and death penalty are applied. Most of that problem is on the state level and he’s against the federal government meddling in state issues.

    The real problem with Ron Paul is that he advocates 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. His crackpot economic ideas would make things worse, not better for the middle class.

  5. says

    Michael Heath wrote:

    Would a President Paul move from talking about positions favorable to people victimized by current policy to actually using the powers of the office of presidency to positively and substantially effect change in these areas? Rep. Paul’s whole career has been spent talking rather than affecting change; so I perceive no reason to think he’d be any different as president.

    I don’t really understand this criticism. He’s been a representative, so he had little ability to put his policy preferences into action. But he’s certainly voted consistently with them. He’s submitted legislation even when it had little chance of passing. And when bills have been voted on in regard to these policies, he’s voted the right way and urged his colleagues to do the same, often being about the only one that was on the right side (especially in his own party). What more do you think he should have done that he had the power to do?

    Would he be able to make those things come true if he was president? Of course not. But he could have some effect on how drug policies are enforced, at least at the federal level. He could instruct the DOJ to put more resources into investigating police corruption, misconduct and brutality. He could fire prosecutors with a record of misconduct (there are many federal prosecutors who have been called out for misconduct by judges and stayed on the job). And I don’t doubt that he would do those things. He could change the government’s position in cases like the DNA case, or on prosecutorial immunity, and require the Solicitor General to take the right side of them. And I see no reason to doubt that he would do those things.

    The point of all this is not to support Ron Paul; I don’t support him and will not vote for him, as I’ve made clear. He’s borderline crazy on many issues. And he could also have a negative effect in the same ways I mention above. He can’t repeal the Civil Rights Act, but he could certainly influence how the DOJ enforces those laws and shift resources away from investigating and prosecuting discrimination. But on many other issues, he is not only on the right side, he’s there virtually alone. So let’s give credit where credit is due and criticism where criticism is due.

  6. leftwingfox says

    There is the flip side of this as well, which is that he’s repeatedly stated that the government should not legislate against discrimination in the marketplace; market pressure should fix it. Even without Jim Crow laws, it still puts government force in the hands of racists enforcing their property rights against shoppers asserting their civil rights.

    IN addition, the same laissez faire policies are going to more heavily impact those who need government pressure to preserve living wages, retirement opportunities and medical assistance when the economic pressure is to minimize those benefits (Which, again, is the majority of the population, regardless of ethnicity).

    That’s the sort of naive “free market fundamentalism” that has distanced me from libertarianism as a whole.

    Frankly, If I’m going to cheer for a white dude with no chance of becoming president, I’ll take Bernie Sanders any day of the week.

  7. says

    Two things for progressives who support Ron Paul:

    1) Ron Paul’s method of determining policy is amoral where it isn’t immoral. It is important to note that even where you might agree with him, it is at least as important to understand how he gets there, not just where he is. If he makes his decisions based on astrology, the fact that you agree with his current view on an issue gives you no rational basis to predict how he’ll feel in the future.

    2) In the reality of a Ron Paul presidency, the odds are that the only things he’ll get passed are the things he disagrees with you on, and your pet issues will disappear in a puff of weed smoke as you’re thrown in prison forever, you dirty hippy stoner! :)

  8. mithrandir says

    For me, the deal-killer on Ron Paul is the advocacy of commodity-based currency, and even there I must admit that he correctly identifies the problem that the Fed is too unaccountable to be trusted with our currency, and thus he’s been actually useful in Congress, like the Fed audit he helped push through.

    It’s just that his ultimate solution to that problem is nuts, and it comes from his nigh-religious demonization of federal government.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    What more do you think he should have done that he had the power to do?

    As I’ve written before in your venue, I rate presidential candidates based on their past demonstrated executive skills coupled to my perception of their talent in regards to being an executive if they lack a sufficient resume to do so. Two of my considered factors is their ability to competently get good things done and the second is to change the very paradigm that allows progress which wasn’t previously possible.

    On both of these factors Rep. Paul fails miserably within his tenure in the House. He’s not moved any of his peers even within his own caucus nor has he changed the paradigm which allows provides a feasible path to progress. So he’s failed as a leader without formal power and failed to obtain power in the House through committee leadership roles; so why should so I assume he would succeed with power when he couldn’t execute through his own caucus?

    In addition I’m skeptical of his commitment to rights if he actually wielded true power where I think his voting record is not evidence of his commitment. I’d be the first to attack this last position when it comes to most congressional members but I find Paul existing in an outlier environment. I perceive Rep. Paul using his votes as an abstract exercise validating his stated theoretical positions rather than effective evidence of where he actually stands if his vote mattered. Simply because his votes on often contradicts what he writes and states when he becomes animated and passionate about certain subjects. For example, his demonstrated anti-gay bigotry in his writings and who he surrounds himself with resonates far more with me than his abstract dispassionate positions in campaign debates. Where those arguments often revolve more around fealty towards “states rights” which could still deny individuals their rights rather than Paul promoting equal protection that the Constitution enforces against the states.

    It’s also not my problem Rep. Paul’s long career doesn’t have him demonstrating success as an executive, including a long tenure in the House where he’s not even achieved power as a Committee Chair who leads effective change. So claiming he’s limited in his ability to effect change because of his career in the House is his problem to overcome, not mine as a voter. Especially given his failure to leverage the power afforded in the House through Committee assignments. I far prefer candidates with demonstrated success as an executive over all others, unfortunately voters and campaign financiers disagree with me where I’m left speculatively considering candidates with zero executive experience (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton) or only failed experiences (e.g., John McCain in the Navy where he topped out as a failed Captain). My speculation is that Paul is not fully committed to rights but instead an actor posing as someone whose committed, equivalent to how his son in the Senate acts.

  10. jjgdenisrobert says

    INCORRECT. Ron Paul does not believe in “decriminilization”, and certainly does not believe in “ending” the War on Drugs. As always with Paul, you need to read between the lines, and understand what he says from the point of view of the Neo-confederate that he is. He wants the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to end ITS War on Drugs. He wants the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should abolish the Death Penalty.

    But he also wants to repeal the 14th amendment, and he interprets the 10th amendment (which was mostly superseded by the 14th) as meaning that the States can overturn and ignore ANY Federal laws they don’t agree with. He wants a Mega-Secession, with all 50 States making up each its own individual country, with MAYBE a small role for a Federal Government in making sure contracts are respected across State borders (he doesn’t even believe the Feds should have a role in Defense; he’s a full-on Militia man in that respect).

    Everything Paul says has to be understood in that light. He believes the States have the right to enact ANY laws they want, including a full prohibition on drugs and alcohol, if that’s what the Market wants. He also believes that the States should have the right to remove the prohibition on Slavery, and let the Market decide if Slavery is ok-dokey or not.

    He’s no different from David Duke and is directly in line with the original goals of the Secessionists. Ron Paul is a man of the 1860s, not of the 1960s.

  11. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #10

    Based on Mr. Michael Heath’s comment and on previous comments he has made on other threads, it would appear that his ideal presidential candidate for 2016 is Virginia Senator Mark Warner. The senator was formerly a successful businessman and had a successful term as Governor of Virginia, before running for and winning his senate seat.

  12. says

    I’ll quote at length, a reader who counters Sullivan, because I think the reader is absolutely correct:

    The thing is that Paul does in fact truck in neo-Confederate historical revisionism, and often directs people to the work of Thomas DiLorenzo, agreeing with his Lincoln-as-tyrant view of history. He discusses this with Tim Russert in the 2007 interview above.

    The assertion is plainly ridiculous. The idea of purchasing the slaves’ freedom had been discussed for decades, and rejected. Also, seven states had already seceded by the time Lincoln took office so I don’t know how any of that works.

    Paul has insisted that the Civil Rights Act made race relations worse which is an absurdity of grand proportions. He voted against renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006. I realize he has ideological reasons for this, but none of that changes the fact that after Florida 2000 (and Ohio 2004 even if unrelated to the Voting Rights Act), and continuing voter suppression tactics, this is harmful to minorities. His being against the drug war is purely on federalist grounds. That he has recognized a narrative there to paint this positively from a race relations standpoint is fine. It’s good politics. But it doesn’t mean he has a lick of consideration for minority issues.

    He was also a co-sponsor of the Marriage Protection Act. He is on record being against a constitutional amendment defining marriage, but he’s all for protecting a clearly unconstitutional law from judicial review. A trick he’s tried to pull with his Orwellian We the People Act (which is my real problem with his candidacy):

    It continues here.

  13. says

    Dr X:

    All of that is true but does not dispute the good policies he supports. For what seems like the 9 millionth time, I am not saying anyone should vote for Ron Paul. I have no intention of doing so. I am not saying that his views are, on balance, good for the country. The quote from one of Sullivan’s readers applies to Sullivan’s position — he actually is saying that Paul is, on balance, more positive than negative — but not to mine. I’m saying that in many very important areas, he is one of less than a handful of prominent politicians that is on the right side of them consistently (and on many others, he is almost alone in some of his loonier positions, like the ridiculous notion of returning to the gold standard). I don’t know why it is so difficult for many to accept that someone can be absolutely right one some issues and absolutely wrong on others — or that one can praise and criticize those issues in and of themselves without making some overarching argument about which side outweighs the others.

  14. Michael Heath says

    mithrandir writes:

    [Rep. Paul] correctly identifies the problem that the Fed is too unaccountable to be trusted with our currency, and thus he’s been actually useful in Congress, like the Fed audit he helped push through.

    The Fed’s power comes coupled to two societal obligations:
    1) Try and keep inflation low without risking deflation, around 2.2%
    2) Optimize employment, which normally requires rates at or just over 4.4% (though economists debate this value though not by much).

    Assuming monetary policy makers are at least mediocre in their execution, these two obligations compete with each other. Favor employment too much and you risk higher inflation, favor low inflation and you risk increases in given contractionary pressures on the economy due to an insufficient supply of money.

    There is a very compelling argument Fed policy is defectively biased towards optimizing low inflation at the expense of the labor market (and optimal economic growth). The Fed is a bank so it should be no surprise their bias is towards lenders in general. However Rep. Paul’s economic prescriptions regarding the Fed would result in severe contraction in a manner that would also create far more harm to the labor market. So he’s not right, he’s such a wingnut on this issue he’s not even wrong.

    [My post here is in response to Paul's overall position on the Fed; his quest for better auditing of the Fed requires us to move into arguments on how to audit the Fed without it further bowing to partisan pressures. Of course auditing is preferred, but only if we can confidently predict an improvement in outcomes via the Fed remaining insulated from partisan politics. Partisan influence on the Fed is already an occasional problem like we encountered from Alan Greenspan during the 2004 presidential campaign season.

    Then-Chairman Greenspan and the Board significantly contributed to the financial meltdown and the severity of the 2007 recession with inflationary policies in 2003 - 2004. I think because of their motivation to get George W. Bush re-elected though Greenspan argues it was a failure in his blind belief in the market and its ability to correct itself. Greenspan perceived competing Wall Street firms would create a proper market price for securitized residential loan packages, along with hedging instruments to mitigate risk. Instead Wall Street acted with a herd mentality by all blindly following the same valuation formula; they also failed to properly hedge their risk by buying hedging instruments which had virtually no reserves set-aside to cover losses. So when losses came there were no funds to pay-off. Greenspan assumed, wrongly, Wall Street would properly assess the risk of assets on its books, and therefore their value, without regulatory over-view and value them accordingly. Which they didn't and still don't do.]

  15. Michael Heath says

    jjgdenisrobert writes:

    But he also wants to repeal the 14th amendment, and he interprets the 10th amendment (which was mostly superseded by the 14th) as meaning that the States can overturn and ignore ANY Federal laws they don’t agree with.

    Do you have a cite the 14th mostly supplants the 10th? I haven’t encountered that argument even in explanations of the concept of incorporation. From my perspective the so-called states-rights advocates instead always avoid the fact the 10th refers to both people and states, where they dishonestly reference only states. From this perspective I would argue the 14th Amendment amplifies and extends the 10th’s protections for people rather than mostly supplanting the amendment.

  16. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    Based on Mr. Michael Heath’s comment and on previous comments he has made on other threads, it would appear that his ideal presidential candidate for 2016 is Virginia Senator Mark Warner. The senator was formerly a successful businessman and had a successful term as Governor of Virginia, before running for and winning his senate seat.

    I don’t know Mark Warner well enough to advocate on his behalf. However I very much like his resume. But then again I liked Mitt Romney’s resume prior to the start of the 2008 campaign season and quickly dismissed him by Jan-08 given his character failings, his commitment to conservatism – especially neoconservatism, his not being well-informed on matters presidents preside over, and his defectively conflating business principles with economic principles where he reveals himself to be an economic illiterate.

  17. says

    Ed,

    Understandably you wouldn’t know from what I posted that I wasn’t disputing your points, and I understand that you’re not endorsing Paul. I just thought that as a reaction to Sullivan’s endorsement, that reader had a particularly deft analysis of Paul’s motives and the neo-confederate connections.

  18. says

    “All of that is true but does not dispute the good policies he supports.”

    What it disputes is that he supports them out of sympathy for racial minorities and the undue harm they suffer. I thought the exact same thing that Sullivan’s reader did when I saw that piece: Wait, aren’t these things that libertarians have long supported for reasons having nothing to do with racial discrimination? And when you look at Paul’s record on other issues, it’s clear that he’s a hardcore lib ideologue and not some fighter for racial justice. That the ending the drug war would be good for black people is entirely incidental in Paul’s universe.

  19. Jim says

    Why anyone would quote Sullivan is beyond me. This is the same queen who supported Bush/Cheney, who defends the catholic church, and gets angry at other gays when we mock christian sensibilities. Why anyone would support a libertarian is beyond me as well. Paul would rather someone die who can’t pay for his own medical insurance. And, hey, libertarians, who is going to protect your property without government? Private police forces? Pinkertons perhaps. Been there done that–gilded era fascism is not what the working class needs or wants.

    How about forming a coalition based on redistribution. You know, the New Deal, The Great Society. The idea that labor is equal and deserves equal pay is a much better econmic premise than any of this Randian Paul/libertarian crap is.

    With all the Atlas Shrugged bashing here, I would think quoting Sullivan and endorsing Paul would be anathema. Guess I misunderstand this blog.

  20. says

    @Area Man

    What it disputes is that he supports them out of sympathy for racial minorities and the undue harm they suffer.

    Yes, and this fueled my own departure from the Libertarians in the 80s. But I know there are libertarians who care about the principles, for reasons that have nothing to do with “states rights,” neoConfederate revisionism. The emergence of Paul in the Libertarian party in the 80s was alarming to me because from the beginning I had doubts about whether he really believed in the principles, or was his espousing of the principles a cover for a much more troubling agenda.

  21. Who Knows? says

    Area Man Said:

    What it disputes is that he supports them out of sympathy for racial minorities and the undue harm they suffer.

    I agree. You’re not going to convince me that Ron Paul supports ending the war on drugs because he suddenly recognizes the hardship and oppression the war on drugs has imposed on blacks in America. There is no way someone who can argue the Civil Rights Act is imposing on private property rights is incapable of that kind of understanding of someone else’s plight.

    Ron Paul is a racist and nothing will change that. I don’t know what his motivation really is, I suspect it is to provide cover for his newsletters; it certainly isn’t out of compassion for the plight of black Americans.

  22. The Christian Cynic says

    Jim:

    Paul would rather someone die who can’t pay for his own medical insurance.

    Assuming you’re referring to the Republican debate where the audience answered a similar question affirmatively, you should know that Paul responded in the negative, stating that communities and churches should pick up the slack when people can’t pay their health care bills. (The transcript of that exchange can be found here.)

  23. Michael Heath says

    Who Knows? writes:

    You’re not going to convince me that Ron Paul supports ending the war on drugs because he suddenly recognizes the hardship and oppression the war on drugs has imposed on blacks in America. There is no way someone who can argue the Civil Rights Act is imposing on private property rights is incapable of that kind of understanding of someone else’s plight.

    Of course you can’t be convinced of that because that’s not Rep. Paul’s argument, which is instead that federal drug laws are unconstitutional. That’s a perfectly respectable premise from which to argue from though I think he takes it too far when gets into the desire that the government also cease research and kill off the Food and Drug Administration.

    And the Civil Rights Act did further limit the exercise of some people’s private property rights, along with their association rights as well. However I can’t imagine a compelling argument that limiting those rights as we did was wrong relative to the protections we now afford to the exercise of far superior rights by way of the Civil Rights Act. Those being the equal protection of rights for non-whites to travel, along with accessing goods and services.

  24. Who Knows? says

    The Christian Cynic,

    Assuming you’re referring to the Republican debate where the audience answered a similar question affirmatively, you should know that Paul responded in the negative, stating that communities and churches should pick up the slack when people can’t pay their health care bills

    Ron Paul dodged the question. Sure he said no, but all he offered was some quaint little story about how when he got out of medical school the churches would take care of them. Then he immediately went into his traditional rant about government, bureaucracy, special interests and blaming Medicare for the rising cost of medical treatment. (Which I don’t believe for a minute.)

    How would communities and churches provide medical care today and what would that treatment look like? How would it not end up being a collection of charities where people are made comfortable while they lay dying?

  25. Who Knows? says

    Michael,

    Of course you can’t be convinced of that because that’s not Rep. Paul’s argument, which is instead that federal drug laws are unconstitutional.

    That might be part of his argument.

    Much is being made of his taking the position that drugs should be legalized because of the inequality in enforcement as is the topic of this post by Ed. And Ron Paul has made that argument.

    http://youtu.be/o8S8N2OG7sU

    That is what I cannot be convinced of.

  26. theguy says

    “he is the only candidate from either party to support a number of policies that would do a great deal to reduce inequality and discrimination in our criminal justice system.”

    What I wonder about is whether that would hold consistent in a hypothetical Paul presidency. After all, President Obama made several 180-degree-turns from Candidate Obama’s positions on issues such as the State’s Secrets Privilege and indefinite detention.

    Since Paul has never had that sort of power, how do we know he wouldn’t do an abrupt turn on such issues?

    I don’t think this question is shifting the burden of proof where it doesn’t belong; to me, it looks increasingly difficult to find candidates in either party who remain consistent once they take office.

  27. Jim says

    @24, the christian…

    You’re splitting hairs. If a church or community doesn’t pick up the tab, then the person dies. Further, if one is advocating that a community pick up the bill, then why not have the community pool their resources and pay when each member is sick. Social cooperation–public health care–guarantees good public health. Using a volunteer “community” or a church is just a ruse to avoid negative press when someone like Paul speaks against health care reform. It is a ruse because communities and churches have not provided modern medical health care for all–ever. I would have thought that would be obvious.

  28. says

    @Michael Heath:

    And the Civil Rights Act did further limit the exercise of some people’s private property rights, along with their association rights as well. However I can’t imagine a compelling argument that limiting those rights as we did was wrong relative to the protections we now afford to the exercise of far superior rights by way of the Civil Rights Act.

    Would I be correct to assume that you know Paul doesn’t believe that the latter are rights at all, let alone superior rights? That is what I think he would deem the compelling argument against your position.

  29. Michael Heath says

    Dr. X writes:

    Would I be correct to assume that you know Paul doesn’t believe that the latter are rights at all, let alone superior rights? That is what I think he would deem the compelling argument against your position.

    No, I think instead this would set up some severe cognitive dissonance for Ron Paul just like it did for his son Rand in his infamous interview with Rachel Maddow. This has me assuming that Ron Paul sees rights as inalienable rather than extended by the government where he’s comfortable advocating for the protection of rights of white bigoted business owners while avoiding the fact competing rights are in play from those who suffer from such protections. Given the media is unable to properly talk about rights, instead relying on policy arguments like optimizing social justice, generally allows the Pauls and their ilk to avoid this fatally defective premise in their argument – even when using their preferred framing (that rights are inalienable).

    Alan Keyes gets around this condundrum with his Christian Nation argument. Where rights are extended by the Christian god where those rights are limited and discovered based on his interpretation of the Bible. However, this argument still fails spectacularly based on our individual religious rights.

  30. says

    The biggest problem for me with Ron Paul is that he believes in the Federal Government even less than the Republicans do. I sat next to an ex-exployee for the CDC on my flight yesterday, who had been at the agency throughout the Bush years and into the Obama administration until having to retire because of ill-health last year.

    She told me that the Bush’s political appointees to the CDC during the Bush years were awful, and seemed more intent on hosting movie stars than running the agency smoothly, but once Obama became president, his appointees are intent doing a good job.

    We’ve also seen this with the Justice Dept where they grilled applicants on their political views, NASA, and FEMA (“Good job Brownie”).

    This is from a party who at least believes that the federal government has a role to play in the lives of Americans, even if they don’t believe it should be a big or expensive one. How do you think the federal administration will fare under a president who actively wants to dismantle it?

    He may not ever have to votes in Congress to do away with the agencies he thinks shouldn’t exist, but as we’ve seen under Bush, there is still a lot of mischief that can be done under a regime of deliberate neglect.

  31. The Christian Cynic says

    Who Knows? and Jim (since your objections are similar): I’m not defending Paul’s position or the possible consequences, but I do think that it’s dishonest to say that Paul is fine with letting people die if they can’t afford or choose not to get health insurance. Even if his fallback option seems naive and ineffective – and I largely think that it is – the fact that he has a contingency plan in mind does suggest that he doesn’t want to let people die; he’s just not willing to have government pick up the tab. (I feel the need to point out that picking up the tab is the key here: Paul’s not saying that medical care should be denied, only that government should not be the ones who are responsible for paying when individuals can’t. I’m not even sure how the notion of churches providing health care directly came into this, and certainly Paul wasn’t suggesting that churches, charities, or local communities be responsible for providing health care to all citizens, only for those who take the risk not to get health insurance.)

  32. says

    Also, and this seems so simple that it shouldn’t have to be said, but people who don’t think that the federal government should and must be a force for the good of the American people should not be allowed to hold positions in the federal government. That really disqualifies almost all libertarians and Republicans from office, which kind of disqualifies people who vote for them from deserving any respect from rational people.

    Just saying…

  33. says

    Jim wrote:

    With all the Atlas Shrugged bashing here, I would think quoting Sullivan and endorsing Paul would be anathema. Guess I misunderstand this blog.

    Jesus Fucking Christ, do you even read? Not only am I not endorsing Ron Paul, I have said about a dozen times in this thread and many others that I cannot and will not vote for the man. I’ve explained why in great detail. Holy fuck, you’re as bad as Bush — “you’re either with us or against us.” If I say I agree with Ron Paul on some things, even when I explicitly say that I disagree with him on many other things and will not support him, I still get this shit. Learn to fucking read.

  34. says

    “Just ran across this Paul investment newsletter from the 90s and thought I’d share.”

    Holy shit. That’s more crazy than I ever thought possible. I’d hate to see what kind of lunacy is in the full report (a $50 value!)

    I understand that the Paulites have a problem with government fiat money, but declaring that the issuance of new bills will spell the end of freedom and doom us all to slavery is more stupid than I think I can handle. I sometimes don’t think they really understand the whole concept of fiat money. They think the bills are like gold, and that if they get exchanged for a new type, they’re debased somehow.

  35. danielrudolph says

    Agreed with jjgdenisrobert. Ron Paul doesn’t want to end the war on drugs or the death penalty. He wants to end the federal war on drugs and the federal death penalty. Seeing as the federal government has executed 3 people since the death penalty was reinstated, this wouldn’t be much help. Ending the federal war on drugs may help minorities in California and Oregon, but removing federal civil rights protections would make minorities in a lot of other states worse off.

  36. says

    Assuming you’re referring to the Republican debate where the audience answered a similar question affirmatively, you should know that Paul responded in the negative, stating that communities and churches should pick up the slack when people can’t pay their health care bills. (The transcript of that exchange can be found here.)

    Ah so he’s not for everyone dying in the street…only the unpopular, outcast and/or poor whose communities are too poor to support them

    Say like…Blacks, Atheists, transgenders, and gays?

  37. jesse says

    Ed–

    I think the earlier comment that how one arrives at certain positions is the key point.

    Look, if someone said “end the death penalty” I could agree in isolation. If that same person said “end the death penalty and replace it with caning” I wouldn’t. And I would not say that the person who took that position was worthy of praise for being against the death penalty.

    Lots of fascist governments took positions that sound great — in some cases, they even provided some good things for the citizens. But I wouldn’t say they were worthy of praise for it either.

    I know you don’t support Ron Paul. But I think — when I think about it — that the issue here is that saying “he deserves praise for X” often leaves out the way he gets there, which is vital to understanding his positions in the first place.

    Right for the wrong reason doesn’t make you right, for example, if I answered a physics test problem with the right answer my old prof would ask me to show my work. Had I answered that an object falls because God isn’t holding it up he’d have marked me wrong, you know?

  38. ginmar says

    So Ron Paul’s a racist and his policies look good on paper and hey, let’s ignore that he’s an anti-choicer who’s content to let women die.

  39. Michael Heath says

    ginmar:

    So Ron Paul’s a racist and his policies look good on paper and hey, let’s ignore that he’s an anti-choicer who’s content to let women die.

    Coward.

    Direct your post to the person whose argument you’re supposedly describing. Also quote exactly what they wrote that supposedly makes such points.

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