Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Confessions of a Libertarian

My Thoughts on Ron Paul’s Candidacy for President.

I used to be a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party.  In fact, while I stopped paying membership dues years ago, I still have the Libertarian Party card in my wallet.  I still hold many Libertarian views.  But I cannot and will not vote for Ron Paul to be President.  In fact, I probably would not vote for any Libertarian, despite holding many of Libertarian views.  Why?  There is a couple of reasons.

The main thing in the Libertarian philosophy that appeals to me is the basic principle of "live and let live".  In my view it is not Government’s job to protect people from themselves.  People should be free to do good or bad things to themselves, as long as they don’t harm others.  Government also should not be in the business of helping people: there are charities for that.  However, and this is where I part company with Libertarians, the Government should provide a minimal safety net.  Because relying on charities does not always work.  Here is why.  My personal test for any policy that sounds good in theory is this: let’s take it to its logical conclusion in practice and see whether I still like it.  In engineering this approach is called "worst case analysis".  It basically checks whether a given system would still work under extreme circumstances.  So, returning to politics, let’s say, for example, that someone who does not have health insurance and does not have a lot of money to pay for expensive treatment gets into a bad car accident.  If no charity comes along to pay for that person’s treatment, that person has to be left to die on the side of the road.  I don’t think that would acceptable in a civilized society.  That is why guaranteed minimal safety net is necessary.  And the only entity capable of guaranteeing such safety net is the government.

My other disagreement with the Libertarians is the view on foreign policy.  And this is the main reason why I would never vote for someone like Ron Paul.  Libertarians, Ron Paul among them, are uncompromising isolationists.  Because the term "isolationist" is historically associated with pre-World War 2 isolationism in the face of Nazi aggression, they now came up with the term "non-interventionist".  Can someone please explain the difference to me?  Because I don’t see any.  Maybe it’s the fact that English is my second language.

Ron Paul in particular now tries to ignore the history behind our current conflict with the jihadis.  Here is what he wrote (thanks to Sultan Knish):

Arab Muslims are tired of us.

Angry and frustrated by our persistent bullying and disgusted with having their own government bought and controlled by the United States, joining a radical Islamic movement was a natural and predictable consequence for Muslims.

We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us.

Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.

This ignores the long history of conflict, starting with the Barbary WarsHere is what the Tripoli’s Ambassador to London Abd Al-Rahman told Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in response to their question about why American ships were being attacked:

…Jefferson would perhaps have been just as eager to send a squadron to put down any Christian piracy that was restraining commerce. But one cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (It is worth noting that the United States played no part in the Crusades, or in the Catholic reconquista of Andalusia.)

Ron Paul ignores the teachings of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. He seems to think that complying with jihadists’ demands will bring us peace.  But the truth is that the followers of Islamist ideology cannot be appeased and satisfied.  Ron Paul also ignores the history of Arab-Israeli conflict, in which multiple offers of peace by Israel were answered by more war from the Arabs.  Not to mention the fact that Israel is tiny compared to the sea of Arab land, so what occupation are we talking about?

Ron Paul thinks that should mind our own business.  He thinks we should just trade with everybody, no matter how horrible they might be, and respond only to a direct attack.  By the way, in regard to direct attack, Ron Paul actually had a good idea.  After 9/11/2001 he suggested that the Congress should issue Letter of Marque and Reprisal, introducing Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001.  This power of the Congress seems to be specifically designed to deal with non-governmental hostile entities, such as pirates or terrorists, and is similar to Declaration of War.  Thus, it would apply perfectly to our response to 9/11 attacks.  Unfortunately, Ron Paul’s suggestion did not pass.  But back to my disagreements with Ron Paul.  His idea taken to the extreme is analogous to a gun shop owner knowingly selling guns to a robber, as long as that robber does not rob his store.  Or, in a schoolyard situation, continue playing with a schoolyard bully, as long as that bully does not bully you.  But if he beats up your friend, well, that’s not your problem.  You do not intervene.

You see, isolationism is immoral.  And it always catches up with you.  Because if you just keep telling the bad guys that you have no quarrel with them, they will see it as a weakness and will attempt to take advantage of you.  You don’t need to go very far in history in order to see what attempts to avoid a fight at all costs lead to.  Yes, I am talking about World War 2.

Ron Paul seems to get his support from outright nuts (also here, here and here).  For the record, it is incorrect to say that Ron Paul is a Nazi.  He might be an anti-Semite and a racist, although I would not know that for sure, but he is definitely not a Nazi.  Why?  Because Nazi is short for National-Socialist, and Ron Paul is most definitely not a socialist.  But one has to at least ask why he is getting support from the Nazis and other nuts.  But what really exposes Ron Paul as either a fraud or a nut himself is this solicitation letter.  Just in case this link to New Republic goes away, I saved this letter here.  The nutty conspiracy theories spouted in this letter remind me of idiotic claims about Y2K disasters.  People were seriously talking about pacemakers stopping and cars not starting because of Y2K "because pacemakers and cars have computers inside".  Of course, anybody familiar with computer technology and electronics would know that this is idiotic.  But many people who always had problems setting up their VCRs believed these claims, and unscrupulous hucksters took advantage of them.  Well, in this letter Ron Paul sounds just like one of those hucksters.  So, either Ron Paul is one those unscrupulous hucksters peddling his crap and trying to basically defraud naive people out of their money, or he is a nut who believes this crap.  Or, at the very least, he is incompetent to make those predictions that never came true.  And if he would claim that he was not the one who wrote it, well, his name is on it.  And if he can’t control what gets published in his name, then he is just as incompetent.  Can you imagine a President giving a bad speech and then, as an excuse, saying that he wasn’t the one who wrote the speech?  So, there you have it.  I do disagree with Ron Paul on foreign policy.  But this solicitation letter goes beyond disagreement.  It simply kills my respect for the guy.  So, despite his libertarian views, many of which I share, I prefer Hillary Clinton to this guy.  Obama – that’s another story.  He is too committed to his leftist views.  So in case of a choice between him and Ron Paul I would simply skip voting for President.  But lucky for me, this is not going to happen.  John McCain is likely going to win the Republican nomination, so I will happily cast my vote for him in the general election.  He is far from ideal choice, but at least he will keep us in the fight against the islamo-fascists until someone better comes along.

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February 8, 2008 Posted by | Articles | 6 Comments