Ron Paul Educates
Ron Paul has our attention. He is speaking about most of the issues from the right point of view. He is currently the best champion of liberty. He is a socially conservative anti-war libertarian. That may sound like an oxymoron to some. However, he tries hard to keep distinct his personal feelings about some things and his public position, at least in terms of what he would support in enacting legislation or applying the constitution. He does not entirely succeed in keeping them apart.
He has tried to run for office as a Libertarian Party candidate, and lost. Regrettably he had to become a Republican Party candidate to win office as a congressman. Now he is taking that same pragmatic way to promote the libertarian cause by being a Republican Party candidate for president. He is getting the word out. People are listening to him. And the message is almost pure libertarianism.
Whatever you think of Ron Paul's chances of becoming president of the United States , he is giving the libertarian educational effort a mighty strong boost. He is totally on target except for a few issues. We have our exceptions to his opinions on abortion, immigration and globalism in the form of trade agreements.
How can we understand (if not forgive)?
- He is anti-choice . He is a former Lutheran, now attending a Baptist church, and as an obstetrician his personal feelings about killing a fetus are somewhat understandable.
- He does not favor fences around our borders, but opposes our funding welfare (an objectionable term, all right) for illegal immigrants. He favors enhancing legal immigration, because our economy needs a greater supply of labor at all levels.
- He favors tariffs, though wants them to be low. Trade agreements such as NAFTA are entangling alliances. Our foreign policy should simply consist of free trade and low tariffs. Tariffs may be needed to cover the cost of inspecting incoming goods. Why tariffs at all?
- He inserts earmarks for his Texas district into House bills, even though he votes against them. Those same bills usually pass. His excuse for this is that he wants to give back to his constituents what belongs to them. Would not the same apply to all of us?
- He favors a constitutional amendment to protect praying in public schools from federal court interference. Why have public schools in the first place?
- He favors a constitutional amendment to do away with birthright citizenship. If our nation is built on the principle that sovereignty resides in the people, do we need the concept of citizenship?
- He only finds government problems at the federal level. Are the states living within their constitutions?
- He tolerates supporters who spread conspiracy theories, Nazism and racism and has finally admitted to uttering remarks himself that have been interpreted as racist. Read the Knappster.
- He flunks the world's shortest political quiz. No, not the quiz behind the Nolan chart. See Adventures in Legal Land .
Whether you forgive or not, give Ron the credit (so far and on through the rest of the campaign) for libertarian education. He is getting the message out. But not all of it. He is a politician, after all. Ron Paul supports the constitution and supports running the government by it in a strict manner, based on the original public meaning. We wish he also sought improvements to maintain that strict understanding of the original public meaning. And I do not mean an amendment against birthright citizenship, nor an amendment to protect prayers in schools!
I mean amendments like his 1998 Liberty Amendment!
SECTION 1. The Government of the United States shall not engage in any business, professional, commercial, financial, or industrial enterprise except as specified in the Constitution.
SECTION 2. The constitution or laws of any State, or the laws of the United States , shall not be subject to the terms of any foreign or domestic agreement which would abrogate this amendment.
SECTION 3. The activities of the United States Government which violate the intent and purposes of this amendment shall, within a period of three years from the date of the ratification of this amendment, be liquidated and the properties and facilities affected shall be sold.
SECTION 4. Three years after the ratification of this amendment the sixteenth article of amendments to the Constitution of the United States shall stand repealed and thereafter Congress shall not levy taxes on personal incomes, estates, and/or gifts.
He supports the original public meaning of the constitution, against distortions of many of its clauses that have led to our current overly powerful nanny state. He sometimes seems to forget that even if he should win out on the correct interpretation, it would be temporary. The text of the constitution has proven too easy to misinterpret as it stands. Amendments are needed (if not a complete rewriting) to make it forever clear what the original public meaning was. For example “general welfare” meant the healthy condition of the union and its purpose: securing our liberty and a better defense of all of the states than the individual states could themselves achieve. It did not mean putting the poor on a federal dole or paying farmers not to grow.
He thinks we can achieve liberty by pursuing politics.
The world's shortest political quiz consists of this one question:
Should a service or product be provided at the barrel of a gun?
Yes or No are the only options. I do not see either answer in the speeches and writings of Ron Paul. I see “a little bit” or “some.” I do not find a long-term goal of eliminating taxes. His goal would to shrink the federal government to the size it was in 1995. I do not find a similar goal for the individual states. I do not find a pledge to work to eliminate all monopolies. Any monopoly that lasts is the creation of government and the worst monopoly of all is government itself.
Anything good that you might want government to do can be done voluntarily, privately, by competing providers. Anything government can do can be done better privately and had less than half the cost.
Ron Paul can move us only a fraction of the way to real liberty. But his efforts at educating the people of America does count, it does help. It will eventually have to be augmented or replaced with an even better, more complete message. In the meantime, join me in helping Ron Paul spread the word, including donating $100 to his campaign. But also join me in sending Mr. Paul a message to get his support for a 100% pure libertarianism.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions...
Peter also writes for Ada Byron's Blog.