Why Liberals Should Consider Ron Paul, by Bryan Lackey

The Writing Of Bryan Lackey

Why Liberals Should Consider Ron Paul

Why Liberals Should Consider Ron Paul

I am unabashed, though not uncritical, supporter of Ron Paul for President. I come to this as an unapologetic libertarian, but also one who has been disgusted with the two party duoply for most of his life. I have never voted for a major party candidate before now, with, I think, good reason, and I'll admit, it feels strange to be on the verge of doing so now. But I believe Dr. Paul represents the right combination of principle, consistency, honesty, and electability (which should never be the primary factor in choosing a candidate, but is nice to have), at the right time, to make a real difference in the history of this country.

Not everyone I know feels this way. Many of my friends on the left, especially, have expressed similar concerns and doubts about Paul's policies and past statements. Here I will address them, and hopefully offer convincing alternate evidence to show that Dr. Paul is the best choice, and certainly a far superior alternative to four more years of Obama.

So far Paul's left wing critics have brought up the following issues-

  • Paul's views on campaign finance reform
    , specifically being in favor of the Citizen's United decision and restrictions on political contributions in general. He (as do I, as do libertarians in general I think) come at this issue from a property rights/economic liberty starting point. Assuming consenting adults, a free individual should have the right to spend their money on whatever they see fit, including contributing to the campaign of a politician. The beauty of a democracy is that on election day everyone, from Bill Gates to Bill the Bum, gets exactly the same power: 1 vote (mitigated by the electoral college, but that's another debate). Yes, politics in this country, and in general, are hideously corrupt, and have been for a long time, but I submit that campaign contributions are the wrong end of the problem to look at. If the power and scope of government were greatly reduced there would inherently be less corruption in the system-basically you couldn't sell the store if there was no store to sell.
  • Dr. Paul is somehow a racist
    , specifically the newsletter controversy. This is a fair question. The content in question is disgusting, and I don't have a completely adequate response. I will even go further and say that it is completely legitimate to ask Dr. Paul himself and his supporters about this, despite the age-after all, we judge Gingrich's record (and personal actions) from the same era, we criticize Romney for a 5 year old healthcare law, and we certainly scrutinized the (admittedly shorter) public record of candidate Obama in 2007 and 2008. However, Paul has accepted moral responsibility for the content on numerous occasions, and has completely disavowed the content. More importantly, however, is this: if it is reasonable to take 20 year old writings into account, then it also seems reasonable to judge Paul or any other candidate by his votes, his actions, and his words in the recent past and present. Paul has vocally opposed corporate welfare, the police state, and wars started by both Republicans and Democrats, three issues that I think should matter a great deal to all Americans, including racial minorities that are disproportionately affected by all three. What, then, of the other candidates? Gingrich, Romney, Perry, and Bachman (along with the rest) have all called for more war, more bailouts, and more domestic spying in ways that Orwell could only dream about. And the current occupant of the White House has actually prosecuted wars (and only partially ended-3 years late-the one he promised to finish-http://www.salon.com/2011/12/17/no_the_u_s_is_not_leaving_iraq/), started more, actually given out trillions in corporate welfareassassinated American citizens, and even as I type this is demanding unlimited power to detain whoever he wants without trial, charge, or representation. So, then, one question becomes eminently important-where do you want the country to go, and who do you really think would have the moral courage to get us there? Furthermore, Paul refuted those charges rather forcefully in 2008, far more eloquently than I could. The man cites Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Ludwig Von Mises and Murray Rothbard (Jewish intellectuals) as heroes. The head of the Texas NAACP (without endorsing him mind you) is firmly convinced that he is not a racist. KRS-One has endorsed him. And as of this writing, a CNN poll has just found that Paul polls the best of all of the Republican candidates among non-white voters. And, finally, a relevant quote from Ayn Rand, from one of her few writings that I wholeheartedly agree with: "[Racism] is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of anmials, but not between animals and men."

    So. Paul. Terrible publisher, and imperfect, as all politicians are. But racist? Highly doubtful, and alone among the candidates of either major party, the only one that might actually do something to help the minorities of this country. Obama certainly hasn't. And no, dilly-dallying on Don't Ask, Don't Tell until the courts forced his hand, however important repealing that piece of garbage was, doesn't count.

  • Abortion rights
    -OK, I can't argue that one too much. I'm also a staunch pro-choicer, and Dr. Paul is utterly pro-life. Voting for a pro-life candidate does make me uncomfortable, but I submit these ideas for your consideration-
    1. Philosophically, libertarians start from the primacy of the individual as the fundamental unit of value, therefore where the individual begins becomes the breaking point of the system. Since science really hasn't given us a definitive answer yet, I believe that good faith positions can be held on both sides of the issue-it's essentially erring on the side of caution as to where the individual begins. Yes, in some cases opposition to abortion rights is born of a hatred of women, or a desire for patriarchal control, but in Paul's case I strongly doubt it.
    2. Between Roe v. Wade being pretty starre decisis, a strong 9th Amendment case to be made for abortion rights, an entire Congress in his way, abortion being legal in about 2/3rds of the states pre Roe v. Wade, and having much bigger fish to fry if he wins, there's little a president Paul, or any other president for that matter, can really do to affect abortion policy.
    3. This is the big one for me-the net benefit to human liberty, with the end of the police state, the endless wars, the currency devaluation, the drug war, and on and on would still be dramatically better under Paul than anyone else this side of a Michael Badnarik.
  • "Ron Paul will eliminate all roads/education/stop lights!"
      OK, this is one is a little ridiculous :)  Just because the government shouldn't do something, or mandate something, doesn't make it an inherently bad idea. Wearing a helmet or seatbelt, having clean drinking water, educating children-all of these are inherently good and smart things...but that doesn't mean the government has to or should have anything to do with them (and in general they do it worse than the private sector could). Even roads, although again, bigger fish to fry, will be provided by private citizens if there's motivation enough-http://www.economicsjunkie.com/private-citizens-perform-4-million-road-repair-job-for-free-in-8-days/
  • Just some things to think about.