The mixed views of candidate Ron Paul


If anyone had any doubts that the US is ruled by a single pro-war, pro-business party, recent Congressional action should dispel them. It is clear that the wheels are already being oiled for starting a war with Iran, and the Democrats are complicit in this pre-war demagoguery, just as they were before the war with Iraq, when many voted for the Iraq war authorization resolution.

Take the recent resolution H. Con. Res. 21 of the 110th session passed by the House of Representatives. As Arthur Silber points out, it lays the groundwork for what can be used later to start a war with Iran. 411 members voted for it, and only two voted against. The two were (no surprise) Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul and Kucinich explains why.

The vote may have been seen by some as symbolic, a chance for them to grandstand against Iran, the current target of demonization by the pro-war lobby. It was triggered by an alleged inflammatory statement by the Iranian leader that people who know the language and idiom well say is a mistranslation. (See Juan Cole and also here.) But as the bitter experience of Iraq reveals, so-called symbolic resolutions have a way of being used as if they are legal authorizations for war.

As for Paul, Rudy Giuliani must be kicking himself for taking on congressman Ron Paul during one of the early GOP debates. As a result of that exchange, Paul has received a lot of media exposure. I have mentioned approvingly his views on the Iraq war and the negative consequence of militarism in foreign policy. Another big thing in his favor is that he does take the constitution and the Bill of Rights seriously.

But we have heard very little in the media on his domestic views, some of which I disagree with, especially his opposition to single-payer universal health care system. Another negative against Paul is that he objects to gays serving in the military, and seems to support the current ridiculous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The issues page on Paul’s website is a bit sketchy on details of his positions on many issues. The Carpetbagger Report lists other problems with Paul’s views and those of libertarianism in general.

Paul’s sharp opposition to government in almost all its forms and almost uncritical support for the private sector seems to arise from a great faith in the ‘free market’, but his view of it, like that of many libertarians, seems to be an Adam Smith idealization, where lots of small companies vie for customers on a roughly equal footing. In such a situation, individuals have some power and can benefit but that situation is rarely found in the modern, highly corporatized, monopolistic economy. Now corporations have enormous power over individuals and one of the important tasks for both the government and the judiciary is to counterbalance that power so that individuals are not at the mercy of these powerful entities.

There is a danger with too powerful a government, though, because it can shift its allegiance from protecting the rights of ordinary citizens to serving the interests of the elites who wine and dine politicians and contribute to their campaigns and even outright bribe them. We currently have a system where a single pro-business, pro-war party government with two factions (labeled Republicans and Democrats) is actually colluding with corporations to exploit individuals, and a Supreme Court that is also more solicitous of business interests than that of individuals. It is time to swing the pendulum away from big government-big corporation domination of our lives.

Since the mainstream media tends to focus mainly on so-called ‘leading’ candidates, in order to redress the balance, here is collection of just Paul’s responses to questions during the June 5, 2007 New Hampshire debate.

It is to Jon Stewart’s credit that he asks Paul about his other views.

And keeping on a lighter note yet revealing of where Paul stands on a variety of issues, here he is on Stephen Colbert’s show:

And as a result of appearing on Colbert’s show, he got the famous ‘Colbert bump’ and his poll numbers shot up to 2%!

While people like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are unlikely to win their respective party’s nominations since the media have already decided that they are not ‘serious’ candidates, their presence in the race has definitely opened the door to a wider range of views (especially on the Iraq war and the threat to liberties at home) and that is definitely a good thing.

POST SCRIPT: Bong hits 4 Jesus

Some time ago I wrote about the student who was punished for unfurling the “Bong hits 4 Jesus” banner during a parade. The Supreme Court has now ruled against him.

Comments

  1. Jeffrey Quick says

    Another big thing in his favor is that he does take the constitution and the Bill of Rights seriously.

    But we have heard very little in the media on his domestic views, some of which I disagree with, especially his opposition to single-payer universal health care system.

    You can’t have it both ways, Mano. Please tell me where the Constitution permits a government-run health-care system.

    I have reservations about Paul’s positions on the war against Islamofascism. I really don’t think we can stick our heads in the sand and expect terrorists to go away. Notwithstanding that, I intend to vote for him in the primary, because he is the only major-party candidate who has a clue about what government in the US should be about.

  2. Steve says

    Paul absolutely does not oppose gays serving in the military, as he explained in the last debate.

    He is also a vehement opponent of corporatism, in which companies receive welfare from the government in the form of favors, legislation, or subsidies. Corporations have much more to fear in a Paul administration than any other candidate, believe me.

  3. Alexia says

    The health care system only became so expensive when the government started up picking up the tab for certain members or our society. Adding more government money to the system will only bankrupt us all.

    A single payer system equates to a monopoly, and that is never the most efficient way to cut costs, if only because there’s no incentive to be efficient.

    Finally, I have a dog in the race. I have a condition which is expensive to treat, and at my age the prognosis isn’t as good as it might be if I were younger. My insurance company has to treat me, but I’m absolutely convinced the government would not hesitate to refuse, because I’m not cost effective. The sooner I die, the less Social Security they’ll need to pay.

    My conversations with the hard left crowd on the subject always seem to indicate that a national health plan would come with a responsibility to die caveat that initiates when you become too old, or too sick, to treat. Our current system at least means I can hope the government will force my insurer to pay. Where will I turn when the government is the insurer?

    Whatever happened to the “Ask not what your country can do for you…..” line of thought? Are we really turning into a such an endlessly needy group?

    If we are, it’s sad.

  4. John Howard says

    Sir,
    You spread the absurd idea that coercive power and economic power are the same thing. You also spread the absurd idea that monopoly can come about in a free market.
    The power to buy is not the same as the power to force. Corporations are large because either they please their customers or because the thugs called government have used violence to create a market advantage for them. That advantage would not be there without government violence.
    Fear and hatred of the rich – even when they have earned their wealth – is the essence of Marxism. It is necessary, psychologically, to hate those you wish to rob. And it is most profitable to rob the rich. So fearing and hating the rich is popular among parasites.
    Failing to see the difference between winning in the market and winning by force is at the root of your error. Monopoly cannot occur without violent enforcement. Monopoly does not mean winning in the market. It means limiting your competition by force.
    We do not live under free-market capitalism. We live under fascism (corporatism), a system where huge government, voted in by parasites hoping to rob the rich (socialism), has instead been bought off by the rich and is now used to stifle competition. What would you expect? If you hire a bunch of gunslingers to rob the rich, the rich will bribe them to serve the rich.
    But you blame the rich, not the gunslingers. Eliminate the gunslingers from the market and you will find you have nothing to fear from the rich, the successful, or the popular. If, in a free market, a corporation wins all the customers and the “mom ‘n pop” operation goes out of business, you cannot show, in an honest ethical debate, that anyone has been harmed. It is not a harm for me to shop here and not there. Harm is when I take from you what is yours. But customers are not yours.
    Being anti-corporation is being anti-success. Being anti-government coercion is being just.
    John Howard

  5. Anonymous says

    First of all, he does not object to gays serving in the military, he made that clear in the last debate.

    “Paul’s sharp opposition to government in almost all its forms…”

    Not really. He’s mainly opposed to a bloated, centralized government. He doesn’t want no government, he wants it to be smaller and decentralized like in the Constitution (which is actually the law).

  6. brody says

    First of all, he does not object to gays serving in the military, he made that clear in the last debate.

    “Paul’s sharp opposition to government in almost all its forms…”

    Not really. He’s mainly opposed to a bloated, centralized government. He doesn’t want no government, he wants it to be smaller and decentralized like in the Constitution (which is actually the law).

  7. John C. says

    Once our currency collapses due to out of control deficit spending, arguments about the merits of big government will be moot. The government simply will not have the means to pay for single payer health care and all the other pork (personal, corporate, and defense).

    That’s when the real suffering will start, and we will long for the days when we all had jobs from the evil corporations.

  8. Anonymous says

    Alexia, “Single payer” is not the same as “government run.” In a single payer system, the government or a designated agency makes all the payments. This is similar to the current notion where medical facilities bill the insurance industry. I favor of taking the middle entity out of the system and hope to minimize the practice of “privileged health care.” Everyone gets the same “free” health care or they can pay a private entity whatever they charge.

    John Howard, I do not accept some premises of the free market: 1) Within a collective, coercion is always going to be present, 2) The notion that “people enter into market transactions to satisfy their desires” has a limited range of applicability, and 3) There is no such thing as “your wealth.” What you have is what the economic system allows you to have, not because you “earned it” or “worked hard.”

    In general, I agree that the application of a free market system is better for a collective of individuals than “Corporatism” (for the record, Fascism is the merging of corporate and religious interests). However, this concept works well only in the realm of “wants” not “needs.” J.K. Rowling becoming a billionaire is an example of what I consider a good realm for the free market. Health care, bulk food, shelter, security, etc. are things that I consider needs and I am not convinced that any form of market should have dominion over them.

  9. Thought Shaman says

    Alexia, “Single payer” is not the same as “government run.” In a single payer system, the government or a designated agency makes all the payments. This is similar to the current notion where medical facilities bill the insurance industry. I favor of taking the middle entity out of the system and hope to minimize the practice of “privileged health care.” Everyone gets the same “free” health care or they can pay a private entity whatever they charge.

    John Howard, I do not accept some premises of the free market: 1) Within a collective, coercion is always going to be present, 2) The notion that “people enter into market transactions to satisfy their desires” has a limited range of applicability, and 3) There is no such thing as “your wealth.” What you have is what the economic system allows you to have, not because you “earned it” or “worked hard.”

    In general, I agree that the application of a free market system is better for a collective of individuals than “Corporatism” (for the record, Fascism is the merging of corporate and religious interests). However, this concept works well only in the realm of “wants” not “needs.” J.K. Rowling becoming a billionaire is an example of what I consider a good realm for the free market. Health care, bulk food, shelter, security, etc. are things that I consider needs and I am not convinced that any form of market should have dominion over them.

    Posted by on June 26, 2007 02:20 PM

  10. dave says

    “Health care, bulk food, shelter, security, etc. are things that I consider needs and I am not convinced that any form of market should have dominion over them.”

    Who then? The government? To paraphrase Dennis Miller, the gov’t can’t pave roads.

  11. John Howard says

    For the record, “facism” is merely a different spelling of “fascism” which has nothing to do with the merging of religion and corporations.

    If I have earned what I have, that means it is right for me to have it, wheather it is allowed or not. It is right if my productivity created it. Marxist morons want free stuff from the government gunslingers, so they like to deconstruct the idea of property rights. However, note that if I only have what I have because the marxist morons “allow” me to have it, then their right to do such allowing implies that THEY have a property right. Imagine someone saying to you that you don’t own what you just made, but since he owns it, he’s going to allow you to have it, maybe. The whole meaning of ownership is: who gets to choose the use of something. The marxist moron syllogism is thus:

    -Everybody owns everything
    -The government gunslingers represent everyone
    -Therefore the government gunslingers own everything

    Note the pattern: contempt for words and dictionaries is always at the heart of parasitic philophies, as George Orwell enjoyed pointing out.

  12. John Reading says

    To suggest that the market should not have dominion over necessities is merely to say that humans acting and trading voluntarily should not have dominion over human life. It is to say that life requires that some people force themselves on others.

    This is only true for the life of a parasite who takes instead of earns.

  13. Anonymous says

    John Howard, you are right about fascism having nothing to do with religion, I should have used nationalism instead.

    “If I have earned what I have, that means it is right for me to have it,”

    You can have anything you work for only if the social structures (“the system”) around you let you keep the same. The right of ownership is enforced by the collective on behalf of an entity (person or otherwise). Ownership is a function of the relationship between the collective and the individual. It matters not whether you are a capitalist or a Marxist.

    In this context, the collective includes individuals, non-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations, for profit corporations, the government, etc. To equate the collective with “the government” is misleading, just as it is misleading to equate everyone who has a different notion of the collective-individual relationship as a Marxist. Today’s corporations understand this relationship and work it to their advantage at the expense of other entities, especially the individual.

    Further, I am tired of the nonsensical notions that some capitalists keep spouting about working hard to get ahead. I know people who work hard at two jobs and cannot make ends meet, and not because they spend frivolously. They just happen to be less “talented” than others are. Does this mean that they are so worthless that they have to make do with almost non-existent health care? I am even more tired of CEO’s making more in less than a day than an average worker makes in an entire year. No one, repeat no one, is that important.

  14. Thought Shaman says

    John Reading, if market forces have dominion over neccessities of life, the related trades are coercive and not voluntary. A human has to obtain food, has to find shelter, etc. On ther other hand, a human does *not* have to buy a Harry Potter book. A trade in the former is coerced, not free. The latter trade is for all practical purposes free.

    Free trade is good model w.r.t Harry Potter or the elegant tapestry one may wish to have. It is not the better model for ensuring food availability in Darfur or Ethiopia, where people are starving to death.

  15. John Reading says

    Thought Shaman….suggesting that voluntary trade is not voluntary is the sort of liguistic nonnsense to be expected from those who wish to deconstruct the notion of property rights. Market forces means voluntary trade. To say that market forces are not voluntary is a contradiction in terms. Life may “force” things on you, but that does not mean that voluntary traders are forcing anything on you or that you have a right to force anything on them. People are starving to death all around the world because of interference in voluntary, free trade by those who believe that government (violence) is a good.

  16. John Howard says

    Ownership is not a function of collectives. It is a declaration of what is right (that those who create shall own what they create). Marxist morons who think of themselves as collectivists may or may not rob me, but ownership is a matter of right, not permission by thieves.

    Collectives, of course, do not exist except in the imagination of collectivists. A collective is merely a mental grouping. What exists, objectively, are individuals and the planet. Some individuals are parasites who want to grab other people’s creations.

    They’d like to do it legally, so they declare that property is not a right, merely a permission by the collectivists. Word games on stilts.

    Being sick and tired of the fact that some people are more productive than others and wishing for a planet where you can steal if you aren’t doing as well as others, is not wisdom or political philosophy, it is just wishing to steal. Marxism is envy on stilts.

  17. John Howard says

    And by the way, “nationalism” also has nothing to do with a merging of religions and corporations.

    Get a dictionary and look up:

    fascism
    nationalism
    own
    earn
    create
    steal
    violence
    voluntary
    free

    and more.

  18. chris lawton says

    GO RON PAUL! GO RON PAUL! GOD BLESS RON PAUL! RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2008!

    Ron Paul in CNN debate on June 5, 2007!

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the galleys, heard in the very hall of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor—he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their garment, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.

    — Cicero: orator, statesman, political theorist, lawyer and philosopher of Ancient Rome.

    “In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth
    is a revolutionary act” GEORGE ORWELL

  19. Thought Shaman says

    John Howard, it is a fact that the collective declares and enforces rights and privileges. It is due to such enforcement that you have the right to own anything. You may think you have a specific right, but it means little unless the collective also acknowledges the same.

    John Reading, a trade may be coercive or free. How did you arrive at a classification for market forces from this notion? As you agreed, the act of living forces things on people, which in turn, coerces them into making some possibly unfavorable trades in the marketplace.

    In an “ideal environment” where there are no resource constraints and the “needs” of the individual are met, a free market is the best vehicle for goods and services. However, I remain unconvinced that it is the best mechanism for providing for the “needs” of all individuals. It is a matter of debate on what constitutes “needs.” However, that each society can come to some agreement on this topic is not something I doubt.

  20. Thought Shaman says

    John Howard – Just to clarify, I meant that I should have used nationalism instead of religion in my original elaboration regarding fascism.

  21. says

    John Howard, it is a fact that the collective declares and enforces rights and privileges.

    No, it is no such fact. That is an assertion first made if not made famous by Roussaeu in the Social Compact.

    Rights do not come from government or the collective. We are born with them. The constitution acknowledges this in the 9th amendment. The bill of rights is merely an enumeration of certain rights and is not at all exhaustive.

  22. says

    Rick,

    Could you clarify what is meant by saying about rights that “We are born with them”? How do we establish what rights we are born with? Those enumerated in the constitution were declared by a particular collective, weren’t they?

  23. Anonymous says

    Rick,

    Mano’s questions stand.

    Further, here is the text of the ninth amendment [Ref. Wikipedia]

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    This doesn’t specifically say anything about an individual being born with rights. This is important especially since the emancipation of slaves happened only when congress enacted the 13th amendment.

  24. says

    I am really looking forward to see Bloomberg get into the picture. It will be really exciting. I heard Al Gore might be the trump card too.

  25. reallywackolibertariankooks says

    “Monopolies don’t come about in a free market”? Seriously whack.

    Government=violence. Yep. As if private power didn’t ever hire mercenaries.

    Seems you moonbats want to live in some mythical old west town…

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