Peace, Injustice, and Ron Paul by David Swanson

Dandelion Salad

by David Swanson
The Smirking Chimp
Sept. 1 2007

If Ron Paul had been president for the past 6 years, a million more Iraqis would be alive, and another 4 million would not be refugees. The world would be a safer place, and Americans would have lost fewer freedoms.

But more Americans would lack decent health care. More American children would lack adequate education. More families in America would struggle in poverty. Immigrant families would face increased threats and abuse. Women would have lost rights. And a growing oligarchy would further dominate American politics, making reversal of any admirable Paul policies likely.

Paul arrives at some admirable positions for some unexpected reasons. And his principles lead him to many reprehensible positions as well. He opposes occupying Iraq because it involves massive government expense and power. That, and not the million corpses, is his primary concern.

Paul is brave enough to say what he thinks and stand by it. While there are Democrats, like Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Lee, who have that same quality, the Democratic Party as a whole has an established reputation of not standing and fighting for anything, and least of all peace.

So, it’s not completely surprising that a lot of opponents of the occupation of Iraq are looking to Paul as the best presidential candidate out there. Many Paul supporters really want peace and want it for the best reasons, but they detest the word “liberal” and loathe “big government.” Others are not quite in that camp but consider the war such an overwhelmingly important issue that they don’t much care what Paul’s other positions are.

But Paul would end the occupation of Iraq and offer the Iraqi people not a dime to help rebuild the nation we’ve destroyed. In fact, he would cut the pittance we give in foreign aide around the world. But Paul has never, to my knowledge, said he would cut a single dollar from the biggest big government expense there is, much bigger than any war: the yearly budget of the Pentagon. And if he thinks he can keep funding that and NOT launch new wars, he hasn’t thought about the workings of our government quite enough.

So, a Paul government would be stingy, extravagant, war-prone despite itself, and in debt. Would Paul solve that problem be reinstating progressive taxation for the super wealthy and corporations? No, he’d cut taxes. Of course, taxes SHOULD be cut for most people. But unless they’re raised for the wealthy and corporations, we will have even more debt (which Paul says he opposes) or we will have to make massive cuts in what’s left of the non-military public sector. And that’s exactly what Paul would like to see: “wasteful agencies” and “governments collecting foreign aid” are among his targets. Rather than increasing funding for public schools, his solution for education would be to cut more taxes (the thinking being that this would allow parents to teach their children at home). That works for parents who want to do that and don’t have to work. But most parents don’t want to do that and do have to work. And with a president Paul allowing the minimum wage to plummet, opposing living wage standards, and doing nothing to restore the right to unionize, parents’ work hours would not be shrinking.

Of course parents who don’t work, or don’t work jobs with good benefits, tend to lack health insurance. Paul would offer these tens of millions of Americans and the even greater number with inadequate health insurance nothing more than a middle finger. Paul believes the greatest crisis in our health care is the imposition of vaccinations. Everything always comes back to his notion of personal “freedom,” even if it’s the freedom to die of a curable disease. The only solution that has been found to provide everyone decent health care – in fact it works in almost every industrialized nation in the world – would mean private medicine, allowing everyone to choose their own doctor, but would also mean replacing the health insurance companies with the government. This is the last thing Paul would ever stand for. Better that people suffer and die than that the government be involved in helping them.

Women who value the right to abortion would lose it under a Paul Administration. This is not speculation. He openly says he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s his principle and he stands by it courageously and honestly, but most Americans disagree with him.

Life would change dramatically for all Americans under this sort of right-wing rule, but much more so for immigrants. Paul would allow fewer legal immigrants, while denying any illegal immigrants a path to become citizens. An immigrant woman here without papers who was raped would be denied the right to an abortion. Her child, born in America, would be denied citizenship. Her family would be denied welfare, as well as health care, and education, not to mention any investment in public transportation. Undocumented workers would gain no workplace rights under a Paul government, and so the rights of all of us would continue to erode. In fact, immigrants would be scapegoated and associated with 9-11, and Paul’s priority would be “securing borders.”

Under a Paul administration there would be fewer immigrants for a good reason: he opposes the trade policies that destroy the economies of the nations they flee to come here. But Paul opposes those policies because they are international, not because they empower corporations and hurt workers. That’s none of his concern. He’s a “property rights” man, even if it’s at the expense of those without property. He opposes NAFTA for the same reason he opposes the United Nations. He would erode international law far more swiftly than Bush, thereby endangering us all in the long run. International law is what works against wars of aggression.

But if Paul is as major an opponent of justice as I suggest, why then are so many advocates of peace and justice flocking to him? It depends in each case. Many passionately oppose the occupation of Iraq, but they don’t call it an occupation. They call it a war. And their chief concern is not the million Iraqis dead, but the nearly four thousand Americans. And (this is key) they don’t like the Democrats.

Paul is a man with principles, bizarre and twisted principles, but principles. Beside him, most of the Republicans look like charlatans, and the Democrats who are allowed on television and in the New York Times look like spineless cowards. They look like spineless cowards not because they favor peace (they don’t), but because they refuse to stand up to Bush and Cheney. Paul stands up to Bush and Cheney. NOTHING is more powerful than that in today’s politics, and he does it. Standing up to Bush and Cheney is what propelled Howard Dean’s campaign so rapidly, and few paid close attention to what his positions were either.

Of course, there is a candidate in the 2008 presidential race who stands consistently and courageously on principle for both peace AND justice. And if we had the courage of our convictions we would put everything we have into backing him. Not only might he win, but our backing him now might force the Democrats in Congress to act like they believe in something, and force other candidates to improve their positions. His name is Dennis Kucinich. Paul doesn’t want people to give their money to Washington. Give it to

David Swanson is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of

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4 thoughts on “Peace, Injustice, and Ron Paul by David Swanson

  1. Ron Paul is an economic utopian, as our his followers. While this is a fine concept if you are living in a rural community of less than 500 with your own currency, it does not work in the real world. All the problems in the world are caused by ‘big government’ according to him. Simpletons.
    Paul says the answer to our problems is ‘the market’ unchecked and unrestrained. Privatize as much as you can and put it under market influences, then it will all somehow magically work out. And lets not forget the states rights issue, which gave us a nasty little thing called ‘the civil war’. Social Inequality and Injustice must be a Federal issue, otherwise you get pockets of ‘jackassism’ in states with goofball ideas. It not fair for a woman ‘raped’ in Mississippi, to have to drive to Illinios so she can get an abortion. The fact that some would support this argument as states rights goes to show how fascistic some of these ‘Paulists’ are. I think they’re cowards. I think they should be Democrats. They won’t because they have been brainwashed into believing we are the taxraising party. I got news for you. Bush gave you lower taxes and you all finally figured out that he ran up the credit card on yourself, your grandkids, and your grandkids grandkids. Real smart…go ahead…vote for a Republican again. Ding dongs don’t learn. Snap out of it and switch parties.

  2. Obviously the author of this piece hasn’t looked much into why Ron Paul feels the way he does about these things. He picks and chooses his facts to highlight much the same the Bush mafia cherry picked their info on going into Iraq. If he understood why Ron is so against the Fed and the IRS and big government, then he would no longer have an argument here. Allow me to highlight a few of the reasons a Ron Paul presidency would be best:

    first: when your money actually has a real value to it (i.e. abolishing the Fed) then it’s ok if people are making minimum wage – they can live on that becuase it’s sound money and there’s no more INFLATION. (see Ron’s youtube videos on inflation, the silent tax, and how it only hurts the poor and middle classes.)

    second: roe v wade is a poor example for him to use. it simply demonstrates how the federal government thinks they have the solution for all when truly, States’ rights should be above Federal mandates. If he’s unfamiliar with the Bill of Rights, i suggest he re-read 9 and 10 particularly.

    third: as for defense spending, what would they be spending any money on when all our troops are home and countries are no longer being illegally occupied? I suppose they’d have to cut that budget – along with the size of the defense department – in order to apportion that money where it’s better spent… here at home. (What part of “smaller government” does the author not get?)

    fourth: I ask you one simple question – what did we do before the 80s when the department of education was created as another government bureaucracy? Did children go running home dumb as doorknobs? No. In fact, since States’ rights were more important at that time (or at least more respected then), each state was able to choose its own education standards, and parents still didn’t just teach their kids at home – but at least they had the option to do so. Now it’s nearly mandated that unless one spouse makes enough – with heavy inflation – to support a household, then BOTH parents have to work. There is no “right to choose” there. So you want to talk about women’s rights… think about that one.

    Fifth: health insurance is a no-brainer. When your money means something (again with this referring back to the abolishment of the Fed… it’s important) then anyone can afford insurance. Not only that, but when you shrink the size and SCOPE of government, they are unable to subsidize these huge “healthcare corporations” and pharmaceutical companies, thusly getting government and Pharma out of bed with one another. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Just for knowing, when did Personal, Individual Liberty (aka the right to choose whether your kids are vaccinated or not) become offensive? That should be a parent’s right, and as an un-vaccinated child myself, I can say I’m the healthiest of FIVE children my mom had (the others were all vaccinated).

    There are just too many flaws with this article to even list at this point. Paul is pro-peace, yes. He’s also pro-TRADE, pro-TALKS, and pro-AMERICA. He wants prosperity at home through legal means. Legal being nothing against the Constitution on which America was truly founded (no illegal immigration, but yes, LEGAL immigration. no illegal printing of money -i.e. Fed- but YES, real, sound money. no government delegation of what you can do with your land, but YES, real property rights. no illegal wiretapping or invading your privacy, but YES, true privacy protection for ALL people of America.).

    I cannot for the life of me understand why someone would go off so half-cocked not understanding the reasons behind Dr. Paul’s stance. Read history, for Pete’s sake! It’s not like he just decided these things would be a good idea. As a 10-term Congressman and OBGYN (often giving FREE service to those who either can’t afford it or only could pay with medicare / medicaide – aka TAX DOLLARS) and a 71-year-old-man, I’d be quicker to give what he says more merit than this author.

    I also find it disheartening that the author doesn’t allow comments on his blog unless you are a member of the site. That just screams “insecure about his sources / knowledge” and “control freak” to me, but of course, it could just be me…
    I allow comments on my site, and all are welcome.

  3. Glad to know someone has put Paul’s views/policies into a realistic perspective.

    My attraction to him are in a couple of areas: Restoring our Constitution – “abolishing” the Federal Income Tax (I placed it in quotation marks because there is NO income tax to abolish!) – and he is willing to regulate the Federal Reserve to have them, basically, clearing checks instead of having a banking cartel run our money supply and credit and, indeed, our government…if not the planet!

    However, with the possible exception of restoring our Constitution, Paul would not be able to pass ANY of his other “pet projects” without legislators in Congress who would want to go along. So, much of his talk is just that!

    In an “ideal world”, sure, many of his proposals conform with what our Founding Fathers intended and I wish we could have a country like they intended. Things have come a long way and his “medicine” for the illnesses of our nation may be too hard to swallow all at once.

    Worst yet, he wants for us to, fairly quickly, stop taking the medicine which has been shoved down our throats without considering the horrible “side affects” it may cause from, all of the sudden, withdrawing such a medicine, as ineffective as it has been.

    At least, we have been able to function though it is in a world of illusions – a reality that has been created for us to accept.

    Ron Paul’s solution would be like ordering someone on strong antidepressants, for instance, to, all of the sudden, stop taking them. The sudden withdrawal can and is often more dangerous and DEADLY than the antidepressants themselves!…So it would be for Americans with Dr. Paul’s “prescription” to cure our illnesses.

    Kucinich would not fare much different with Congress even though his remedies are more compatible with what Americans can handle. This is why our Soth Florida Kucinich Meetup Group has come up with a bold Grassroots effort in support of Kucinich not only becoming president, but also try to secure a legislative body which is as Progressive as him which he could work with.

    See links to a brochure that has been put together to these ends. If links do nor activate, go to our “FILES” at our Kucinich Meetup web page:

    Jack Topel

    FRONT PAGE of South Florida Kucinich Meetup brochure
    INSIDE LEFT PAGE of South Florida Kucinich Meetup brochure
    INSIDE RIGHT PAGE of South Florida Kucinich Meetup brochure
    BACK PAGE of South Florida Kucinich Meetup brochure

  4. Wow… such a declaration. It seems to me that, although I have listened to many, if not most of the statements and speeches by Ron Paul, I cannot find statements that back up your assertions. I have not seen where states cannot allow abortions under Ron Paul (if he was president) nor can I find where health care would be disallowed. I DO find where the Federal Government would not be the ones to decide on it, or to fund it, but states would have the power to decide for their citizens. It used to be that way when I grew up and I don’t see how things are better now then they were then. In the bright day of healthcare for children, mine had little. I was a working, single parent and I made too much (at minimum wage) to qualify even though I had two children (twins). So rah rah for health care. Also, I have seen no statements on reparations either way for Iraq if we ended the war. Where have you found this?

    The last thing I would like to point out is that Ron Paul himself says he would not, nor does not want to have the power for himself. He would encourage some of these things but that does not mean that Congress would agree or pass the changes carte blanche. The main thing is you would need Congressmen you could trust.

    While Dennis Kucinich is not a bad candidate and he’s far better then most of the rest, I still believe that Ron Paul has it right more frequently. That’s what America is supposed to be about. The ability to agree and disagree. Just my opinion. Thanks.

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