Why The Left Must Reject Ron Paul by Sherry Wolf

Dandelion Salad

by Sherry Wolf
Dissident Voice
December 13th, 2007

“Politics like nature, abhors a vacuum,” goes the revamped aphorism. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s surprising stature among a small but vocal layer of antiwar activists and leftist bloggers appears to bear this out.

At the October 27, 2007, antiwar protests in dozens of cities noticeable contingents of supporters carried his campaign placards and circulated sign-up sheets. The Web site antiwar.com features a weekly Ron Paul column. Some even dream of a Left-Right gadfly alliance for the 2008 ticket. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, liberal maverick and Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich told supporters in late November he was thinking of making Ron Paul his running mate if he were to get the nomination.

No doubt, the hawkish and calculating Hillary Rodham Clinton and flaccid murmurings of Barack Obama, in addition to the uninspiring state of the antiwar movement that backed a prowar candidate in 2004, help fuel the desperation many activists feel. But leftists must unequivocally reject the reactionary libertarianism of this longtime Texas congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate.

Ron Paul’s own campaign Web site reads like the objectivist rantings of Ayn Rand, one of his theoretical mentors. As with the Atlas Shrugged author’s other acolytes, neocon guru Milton Friedman and former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan, Paul argues, “Liberty means free-market capitalism.” He opposes “big government” and in the isolationist fashion of the nation’s Pat Buchanans, he decries intervention in foreign nation’s affairs and believes membership in the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty.

Naturally, it is not Ron Paul’s paeans to the free market that some progressives find so appealing, but his unwavering opposition to the war in Iraq and consistent voting record against all funding for the war. His straightforward speaking style, refusal to accept the financial perks of office, and his repeated calls for repealing the Patriot Act distinguish him from the snakeoil salesmen who populate Congress.

Paul is no power-hungry, poll-tested shyster. Even the liberalish chat-show hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar on The View gave a friendly reception to Paul’s folksy presentation, despite his paleoconservative views on abortion, which he–a practicing obstetrician–argues is murder.

Though Paul is unlikely to triumph in the primaries, it is worth taking stock not only of his actual positions, but more importantly the libertarian underpinnings that have wooed so many self-described leftists and progressives. Because at its core, the fetishism of individualism that underlies libertarianism leads to the denial of rights to the very people most radicals aim to champion: workers, immigrants, Blacks, women, gays, and any group that lacks the economic power to impose their individual rights on others.

Ron Paul’s positions

A cursory look at Paul’s positions, beyond his opposition to the war and the Patriot Act, would make any leftist cringe.

Put simply, he is a racist. Not the cross-burning, hood-wearing kind to be sure, but the flat Earth society brand that imagines a colorblind world where 500 years of colonial history and slavery are dismissed out of hand and institutional racism and policies under capitalism are imagined away. As his campaign Web site reads:

The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence–not skin color, gender, or ethnicity.

Paul was more blunt writing in his independent political newsletter distributed to thousands of supporters in 1992. Citing statistics from a study that year produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, Paul concluded: “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” Reporting on gang crime in Los Angeles, Paul commented: “If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”

His six-point immigration plan appears to have been cribbed from the gun-toting vigilante Minutemen at the border. “A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked,” reads his site. And he advocates cutting off all social services to undocumented immigrants, including hospitals, schools, clinics, and even roads (how would that work?).

“The public correctly perceives that neither political party has the courage to do what is necessary to prevent further erosion of both our border security and our national identity,” he wrote in a 2005 article. “Unfortunately, the federal government seems more intent upon guarding the borders of other nations than our own.” The article argues that, “Our current welfare system also encourages illegal immigration by discouraging American citizens from taking low-wage jobs.” The solution: end welfare so that everyone will be forced to work at slave wages. In order that immigrants not culturally dilute the nation, he proposes that “All federal government business should be conducted in English.”

Though he rants about his commitment to the Constitution, he introduced an amendment altering the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to anyone born in the United States, saying in a 2006 article: “Birthright citizenship, originating in the 14th amendment, has become a serious cultural and economic dilemma for our nation. We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive.”

Here we come up against the limits of libertarianism; Paul wants a strong state to secure the borders, but he wants all social welfare expenditures eliminated for those within them.

Paul is quite vocal these days about his rank opposition to abortion; “life begins at conception,” he argues. He promotes a “states’ rights” position on abortion–that decades old hobgoblin of civil rights opponents. And he has long opposed sexual harassment legislation, writing in his 1988 book Freedom Under Siege (available online), “Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts?” In keeping with his small government worldview, he goes on to argue against the government’s right “to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to.”

In that same book, written as the AIDS crisis was laying waste to the American gay male population prompting the rise of activist groups demanding research and drugs, Paul attacked AIDS sufferers as “victims of their own lifestyle.” And in a statement that gives a glimpse of the ruling-class tyranny of individualism he asserts that AIDS victims demanding rushed drug trials were impinging on “the rights of insurance company owners.”

Paul wants to abolish the Department of Education and, in his words, “end the federal education monopoly” by eliminating all taxes that go toward public education and “giving educational control back to parents.” Which parents would those be? Only those with the leisure time, educational training, and temperament commensurate with home schooling! Whatever real problems the U.S. education system suffers from–and there are many–eliminating 99 percent literacy rates that generations of public education has achieved and tossing the children of working parents out of the schools is not an appealing or viable option.

Paul also opposes equal pay for equal work, a minimum wage, and, naturally, trade unions. In 2007, he voted against restricting employers’ rights to interfere in union drives and against raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25. In 2001, he voted for zero-funding for OSHA’s Ergonomics Rules, instead of the $4.5 billion. At least he’s consistent.

Libertarians like Paul are for removing any legislative barriers that may restrict business owners’ profits, but are openly hostile to alleviating economic restrictions that oppress most workers. Only a boss could embrace this perverse concept of “freedom.”

Individualism versus collectivism

There is a scene in Monty Python’s satire Life of Brian where Brian, not wanting to be the messiah, calls out to the crowd: “You are all individuals.” The crowd responds in unison: “We are all individuals.”

Libertarians, using pseudo-iconoclastic logic, transform this comical send-up of religious conformity into their own secular dogma in which we are all just atomized beings. “Only an individual has rights,” not groups such as workers, Blacks, gays, women, and minorities, Ron Paul argues. True, we are all individuals, but we didn’t just bump into one another. Human beings by nature are social beings who live in a collective, a society. Under capitalism, society is broken down into classes in which some individuals–bosses, for example–wield considerably more power than others–workers.

To advocate for society to be organized on the basis of strict individualism, as libertarians do, is to argue that everyone has the right to do whatever he or she wants. Sounds nice in the abstract, perhaps. But what happens when the desires of one individual infringe on the desires of another? Libertarians like Paul don’t shy away from the logical ramifications of their argument. “The dictatorial power of a majority” he argues ought to be replaced by the unencumbered power of individuals–in other words, the dictatorial power of a minority.

So if the chairman of Dow Chemical wants to flush his company’s toxic effluence into rivers and streams, so be it. If General Motors wants to pay its employees starvation wages, that’s their right too. Right-wing libertarians often appear to not want to grapple with meddlesome things like economic and social power. As the bourgeois radical Abraham Lincoln observed of secessionist slaveowners, “The perfect liberty they seek is the liberty of making slaves of other people.”

Too much government?

Unwavering hostility to government and its collection of taxes is another hallmark of libertarianism. Given the odious practices of governments under capitalism, their repugnant financial priorities, and bilking of the lower classes through taxation it’s hardly surprising that libertarians get a hearing.

But the conclusion that the problem is “big government” strips the content from the form. Can any working-class perspective seriously assert that we have too much government involvement in providing health care? Too much oversight of the environment, food production, and workplace safety? Would anyone seriously consider hopping a flight without the certainty of national, in fact international, air traffic control? Of course not. The problem doesn’t lie with some abstract construct, “government,” the problem is that the actual class dynamics of governments under capitalism amount to taxing workers and the poor in lieu of the rich and powerful corporations and spending those resources on wars, environmental devastation, and the enrichment of a tiny swath of society at the expense of the rest of us.

Ron Paul argues, “Government by majority rule has replaced strict protection of the individual from government abuse. Right of property ownership has been replaced with the forced redistribution of wealth and property.” Few folks likely to be reading this publication will agree that we actually live in a society where wealth and property are expropriated from the rich and given to workers and the poor. Even the corporate media admit that there has been a wholesale redistribution of wealth in the opposite direction. But Paul exposes here the class nature of libertarianism; it is the provincial political outlook of the middle-class business owner obsessed with guarding his lot. As online anti-libertarian writer Ernest Partridge puts it in “Liberty for some”:

“Complaints against ‘big government’ and ‘over-regulation,’ though often justified, also issue from the privileged who are frustrated at finding that their quest for still greater privileges at the expense of their community are curtailed by a government which, ideally, represents that community. Pure food and drug laws curtail profits and mandate tests as they protect the general public.”

In fact, the libertarians’ opposition to the government, or the state if you will, is less out of hostility to what the state actually does than who is running it. Perhaps this explains Paul’s own clear contradiction when it comes to abortion, since his opposition to government intervention stops at a woman’s uterus. But freedom for socialists has always been about more than the right to choose masters. Likewise, Paul appears to be for “small government” except when it comes to using its power to restrict immigration. His personal right to not have any undocumented immigrants in the U.S. seems to trump the right of free movement of individuals, but not capital, across borders.

Right-wing libertarians, quite simply, oppose the state only insofar as it infringes the right of property owners.

Left-Right alliance?

Some antiwar activists and leftists desperate to revitalize a flagging antiwar movement make appeals to the Left to form a Left-Right bloc with Ron Paul supporters. Even environmental activist and left-wing author Joshua Frank, who writes insightful and often scathing attacks on liberal Democrats’ capitulations to reactionary policies, recently penned an article citing–though not endorsing–Paul’s campaign in calling for leftist antiwar activists to reach out to form a sort of Left-Right antiwar alliance. He argues, “Whether we’re beer swilling rednecks from Knoxville or mushroom eatin’ hippies from Eugene, we need to come together,” (”Embracing a New Antiwar Movement“).

Supporters of Ron Paul who show up to protests should have their reactionary conclusions challenged, not embraced. Those of his supporters who are wholly ignorant of his broader politics beyond the war, should be educated about them. And those who advocate his noxious politics, should be attacked for their racism, immigrant bashing, and hostility to the values a genuine Left champions. The sort of Left-Right alliance Frank advocates is not only opportunistic but is also a repellent to creating the multiracial working-class movement that is sorely needed of we are to end this war. What Arabs, Blacks, Latinos–and antiracist whites, for that matter–would ever join a movement that accommodates to this know-nothing brand of politics?

Discontent with the status quo and the drumbeat of electoralism is driving many activists and progressives to seek out political alternatives. But libertarianism is no radical political solution to inequality, violence, and misery. When the likes of Paul shout: “We need freedom to choose!” we need to ask, “Yes, but freedom for whom?” Because the freedom to starve to death is the most dubious freedom of all.

Sherry Wolf is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review. She can be reached at sherry@internationalsocialist.org. Read other articles by Sherry.

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On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Stossel interviews Ron Paul – Ask ABC to air it Part IV (video) (immigration)

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water by PeaceLoveVegan (Kucinich; Paul)

Ron Paul on The View (video)

Kucinich/Paul Ticket: A Fatal Error by KatherineHollyday

Kucinich suggests a Republican running mate by Sabrina Eaton & Stephen Koff

Einstein and Socialism by Rich

“Stand fast and fight to the last”: The Spanish Anarchist Collectives by Rich

Anarchy made easy by Rich



42 thoughts on “Why The Left Must Reject Ron Paul by Sherry Wolf

  1. Pingback: Why Ron Paul’s left-wing champions are wrong by Elizabeth Schulte | Dandelion Salad

  2. democrats can take an equal share in the war scenario. in fact, they even got us into a bunch of em!!

    power to the voices.

    only education and defense of private property can handle these environmental issues in a just manner.

    I totally agree that market conservation is the way to go.
    There are plenty of people all over the world concerned about the mother nature and her health. There is no reason to think we cannot organize spontaneously (just as nature does) to arrive at viable and sustainable solutions to the issues we face.

    if government has done such a poor job in the past why trust them now? oh that’s right. because we have a limited amount of time to cede authority to the statists lest we fall into environmental despair without much hope for a healthy future. sounds just like the islamo fascism argument to me.

    sorry, i just don’t buy it. ha ha. pun intended i guess. no amount of theft or coercion can change my mind. only education can do that.

    Here’s just a little something from Rockwell.

    Rockwell’s Anti-Environmentalist Manifesto

    ps–and sorry in advance, but you do realize you have an issue with name calling? i hope you didn’t support taking imus off air because, by your own example, you should get off the internet.

  3. Ranger, I’m a huge fan of land trusts and conservation easements. My involvement with such shows me that it’s the wealthy counties interested in preserving their pastoral views, who donate and purchase easements, whether wilderness or agricultural. It’s the redneck nasty counties of miscreants who support the disintegration of everything for personal sleazy gain, whether gravel-pits, rampant trailer-park developments, or 300’ smokestacks. There is a reason rednecks are poor, and it’s likely because they are just plain backward by design, but that’s just a theory.

    Land trusts are not nearly enough. A lugie in the spittoon at best.

    I happen to live in a redneck county, adjacent to an angolophilic horse-ranch county of Connecticut-wannabe blond wasps, and am quite clear on the difference (and believe me, I’m no fan of rich people, and though I own land in the adjacent region, if any of those anglophiles in their friggin jodhpurs come traipsing on their trusty steeds after my foxes? Well what was that part paul promoted about shooting trespassers?? I’m non-gun and non-violent so prefer instead booby-traps)

    It’s a profound problem of amerigoon frontier psychology, one that can only be remedied at present (until people grow some scruples) by over-arching big brother. There is a use for fascism, I’ve come to believe, and it’s called eco-fascism. Those who would destroy nature for ‘libertarian’ principles, get disappeared and water-boarded, and then locked up in zoos for us to shoot spitballs at. Problem solved!

    Jessie, I’m not against Paul’s foreign policy, if you are for whatever insane and incongruous reason a republican (after the incomprehensible hideous policies they unanimously promoted, certainly since raygun, paul’s best friend, republicanism is a dead movement, needing only to be rendered more dead the minute it rears it’s hideous McGhouliani head! Republicans need to be treated like neonazis, watched, guarded against, and jailed the minute they start talking war again), he’s the best choice for the brain-damaged psychopath republican sect.

    But I’m clearly not capable of cult-busting. There is so much wrong with Paul’s domestic policy ideas that it renders him un-votable. If you can’t see that, it’s not my fault, I tried. Cults are strange phenomena, more of a psychological aberration than a political stance. There are indeed those who specialize in dealing with Texans from Wacko, who passionately seek to deconstruct cultist ideology, but that’s not me.

    Clearly you don’t care for the environment as you say, for if you did, you’d have been following the pure folly of local legal ‘protections’ for environmental causes. It does not work, it has not worked, and while fed structures are not perfect and indeed deeply flawed as I pointed out, this is all we have, Take that away, and you’re left with a bunch of holler-dwelling rednecks ready to level mountains for their coal company overlords with no scruples whatsoever (and even feds don’t address that one stitch).

    You can lead a greed-monger to scruples, but you can’t make him think!

  4. The National Park Service bureaucracy is out of control. The government spends twice as much on regional offices and national administration than it does to operate the 58 national parks in the system.

    During the last decade, the NPS has been lobbied by 30-50 interest groups per year representing a plethora of interests; there’s an association of museums, mountain bike and ATV groups, “hospitality” groups, and even hiking groups (who lobbied for and got a million dollars for an outhouse in Glacier’s backcountry in the late 80s).

    As a former national park ranger, I saw an abundance of waste, corruption, and careerism. The upper ranks of the NPS are filled with sinecurists who censor others to maintain power and coast to a comfortable retirement while earning inflated salaries.

    The result is that the preservation of our national treasures is being compromised by politics. The answer? Remove management of public lands from the wasteful and ineffective federal government.

    Conservation trusts provide a viable alternative to the management of public lands. Conservation trusts, localized and financially independent, would not be subject to political pressures, interest groups, or Congress’ fluctuating budgets.

    Read more about conservation trusts at: http://nps-reform.blogspot.com

  5. “the fetishism of individualism that underlies libertarianism leads to the denial of rights to the very people most radicals aim to champion: workers, immigrants, Blacks, women, gays, and any group that lacks the economic power to impose their individual rights on others.”

    that’s a pretty poor statement by the way. but it’s expected from a socialist.
    i can’t stress enough the importance of looking to the austrian school for an very in depth and down to earth view of economics.

    Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
    by Ludwig von Mises
    [pdf version] http://www.mises.org/books/socialism.pdf
    “This masterwork is much more than a refutation of the economics of socialism (although on that front, nothing else compares). It is also a critique of the entire intellectual apparatus that accompanies the socialist idea, including the implicit religious doctrines behind Western socialist thinking, a cultural critique of socialist teaching on sex and marriage, an refutation of syndicalism and corporatism, an examination of the implications of radical human inequality, an attack on war socialism, and refutation of collectivist methodology.

    In short, Mises set out to refute socialism, and instead pulled up the socialist mentality from its very roots. For that reason, Socialism led dozens of famous intellectuals, including a young F.A. Hayek, into a crisis of faith and a realist/libertarian political orientation. All the collectivist literature combined cannot equal the intellectual achievement of this one volume.”

  6. power to the voices.

    i am voting for Paul in the primaries.

    after all that you have written, and it’s a lot, you have not convinced me that i am wrong in doing so.

    i have a concern for the environment. and civil liberties.

    how do you explain that?

  7. A few More Thoughts I posted to my Environmental Activist Friend on DV re: Paul’s ‘revolution’:

    You say you want revolution…

    But you’ll have a hard time revolving these red-state Amerigoons, unless it’s for a position like Paul’s (which looks more and more devo- than revo). These red-state rednecks already seem for the most part ‘revolting’ enough!

    The last time Amerigoons revolved around anything, it was pat robertson and the Christian coalition’s dismantling of the counter-culture, and so far Amerigoons seem perfectly happy being the brain-dead ‘believers’ they’ve inbred themselves into being right across the bible belt. Therein lies the reason for Bushco, and why they ‘believed’ (for the most part), up until recently.

    You just can’t talk sensible policy to an electorate whose only national ‘activism’ in decades was lead by Jimmy Swaggart. You just can’t talk evolution (nor revolution) to a flock who’s still convinced we landed here at the stroke of a divine forefinger on what used to be a flat pancake (prior iterations of present pious parasites gagged Galileo for a similar sacrilegious heresy of trying to roll that flapjack into a well-rounded ball of dough).

    A large part of the ‘liberty’ ameriguns are constantly concerned about is surprisingly not related to free speech nor wire-tapping nor even Habeus Corpus (esp. if there’s latin in them thar laws!).

    Instead the ‘liberty’ they long for is the ‘right’ to make us pray, and let business and personal property owners abuse the environment and public health, worker’s rights, and anything and everything that could hinder profits or free access to killing things with gunz, while consistently AGAINST their own self interest (religion trumps truth in this tribe)

    Case in point, old-timers around here are all complaining about the ‘environmentalists’ calling for GE to clean up the Hudson from its decades of unregulated PCB spewage. They must be old indeed, apparently forgetting that the only reason the Hudson is any cleaner than the 300-mile-long superfund-site it was (another law the free-marketers are trying to quash) under the industrialists is because a REAL revolutionary, Pete Seeger went around in his boat and banjo. and refused to let them rest (yeah you bet they called him a freak and a commie for that!).

    And these same locals, who are all in bed (and inbred) with well paid-off legislature there in Albany (the most corrupt state capital in the land), were pushing with all their miserable might to let a billionaire Canadian Concrete magnate construct the largest and tallest coal-fired cement plant ever created, and right in the very scenic view-shed from Frederic Edwin Church’s Olana!

    These folks fell for the ‘economic invigoration’ poppycock and false promises from the company’s powerpoint propaganda. Midway through the show it leaked out somehow that the plant would net a total of 1 (one) new job over and above the existing cement plant just across the bridge, yet the people here still supported that plant out of principle. It was only just barely killed, and the struggle took years of wasted time for local activists to stop them, in the end I suspect it only got axed because local David Rockefeller talked billionaire to billionaire (probably at Bohemian Grove) about smokestacks in the middle of his sunset (as it turned out the 300′ tall smokestack would’ve bee in Rockefeller’s view–he owns like half the county).

    But look out, those same mindless minions are bringin’ us three brand-spankin’ new casinos. Sponsored by the same sad, sordid story, and they’re eatin’ it right up once again. Seems they just can’t wait to parade in and blow their trailer-rent on nickel-slots while swillin’ free beer.

    The people of the heartland are believers. They’re not going to question anything, and the ‘leaders’ they vote into local office are those that talks white-trash the trickiest. Somehow these ameri-vangelist minions let their ‘revolutionary spirit’ get rolled up and carried off to some fictitious fundamentalist fool’s fan-club cult. I’ve even heard them say that ‘Jesus was a carpenter, so capitalism must be ordained by the bible’

    It was never necessary to abuse workers, species, the environment, etc. in order for everyone to make scads of money around here. But this free market theosophy took the incredibly ill-gotten wealth of this land and funneled it entirely to the top tenth of a percent. Do these poorer people have a problem with that? Do they complain or revolt? Do they question this pitiful predicament and rebel in any way whatsoever? Guess pious people pull no punches and push no rivers, and just leave it all up to ‘prayer’.

    But all party politics and presidential posturing aside, this preposterous Paulian proposal that the market ‘polices itself’, is obviously so utterly disproved. Anyone espousing such opprobrium in light of the disastrous destruction and heart-rending record of personal and corporate wanton waste that this young land has already suffered through the ‘greed imperative’, has subscribed to some religious devotion to a cut-throat culture of vicious, self-righteous pioneer pillagers.

    That corrupting cultural dogma which was rail-roaded out to the rednecks on Carnegie’s cattle-cars (fueled by Standard Oil no doubt) looked for a while almost old-fashioned. But that’s until it got reamed into the right-brains of red-states from a televangelist’s lectern by Paul’s ultra-free-market predecessors, Ron Reagan and Maggie Thatcher.

    Read Paul’s platform:
    Pt’s got nothing to do with ‘liberalism’ nor ‘revolution’ in the sense of grass-roots citizens uniting to reject the megalomaniacal overlords of industry. Rather the entire Paulian position is again placed on a precarious pedestal of free-market fundamentalism more likely to fuel a feeding frenzy by right-wing religious fanatics. Society seems not shy at all of the corruptions fueled by free markets.

    Whether they realize it or not, people apparently support Paul for the same reasons they walked the ultra-capitalist plank when last lured by Reagan’s tricky “Trickle-down” triumph. The Paulian program places its entire platform on a precarious pedestal that cancels all oversight and regulation from any thing higher than the village parking-ticket appeals court, transferring ALL environmental policy to the local level, and gambling that people will come to their personal senses and hold industry in check all by themselves.

    If this public’s past performance is any forecast, then indeed Ron Paul could only have constructed this stage-set with the full knowledge that under his program industry would win, the people and wildlife would lose, and absolutely nothing would be done to stop it. It’s almost such an obvious economic farce that the words ‘seriously sinister’ come to mind.

    Nobody claims the fed laws are not flawed, nor that States do not, on occasion, sue business for their folly. But fact is whatever combination we have now is all we have, and if it fails, it’s because there’s not enough regulation, and the people’s quasi-elected leaders are bent on dismantling laws long before Paul ever got his band of web-based ‘rebels’ to believe his ‘libertarian’ republican preacher’s pitch.

    In the end, I’d predict that the people and those they ‘elect’ to lead are the problem, and a Paul presidency would be perfectly anti-progressive in this regard and not ‘revolutionary’ in the least.

    If you actually read what paul says, what he writes, and watch his interviews, he’s categorically OPPOSED to ANY federal oversight of this pathology of amerigun frontier-style amerigoon abuse of nature.

    Again, Paul’s position ONLY provides for individuals to sue if damaged by neighbors. That’s the entire extent of his ‘environments position. As alluded above, the typical red-state paradigm promotes a cavalier, carnivorous culture of hunting, logging, herding and believing, like some sort of swaggering cowboy cult.

    If left to local government, PCB’s would have extinguished shore birds and raptors, murrelets would have been wiped out in the lower 48, and dozens of other species would have gone the way of the red wolf, passenger pigeon, and Carolina Parakeet.

    That’s not to say the feds don’t do horrific things, like subsidize the corrupt logging of national forests at a net loss to the tax payer (which Paul indeed opposes, not because vast publicly owned irreplaceable virgin forests are needlessly decimated for tinder and toilet paper. but because it defies his free-market model). These are the people who mismanage or slant rulings regarding prior regulations, keep mining incentives from settler days on the books for free land and mineral rights for ‘big mining’ forever flows, and insist it’s safe to bury leaky nuke waste in a leaky salt mine, Of course they then stack the courts with anti-wildlife judges (who oddly enough promote life of microscopic fetuses, etc, and are determined to roll back federal rulings there too).

    But consider for now that all this has as much to do with the administrations the people here elect, and what sort of treasonous corruption they are willing to obviously and overwhelmingly tolerate and support (as long as it comes under the guise of greed, god, and gung-ho false patriotic, illegal aggressive militaristic glory and gore).

    If the past two elections have shown us anything, it’s that people in this land are just plain daft. They do not, will not, and are determined not, it seems, to learn anything from any past debacle, be it environmental or military. Nothing shakes them, not election fraud, false-flag fraud, militaristic fraud, economic voodoo fraud, religious fraud, etc. etc. Absolutely nothing makes these people care about progress year after debilitating decade (but a past president with an extra-curricular cigar fetish, oh yeah that’s the real news!)

    Certainly the current crop of feds fails miserably to implement any environmental standards, instead bushco 2 does everything it can to roll back and gut existing legal safeguards. So there you have it: if anyone wanted to see what a ‘Paul Paradigm’ might begin to look like from an environmental view, just look at the Reagan years (‘trees make more pollution than smokestacks’: a flatulent phrase that will live in infamy), or for the yet more fetid, try to fathom the environmental antics of bushco 1 & 2.

    So let me then understand: These citizens are the people you want to now entrust to organize their state legislature to take on the big business interests in protection of forests, air and water, when they’ve shown no capacity to even take on Bochco for lying us into Vietnam once again (as if the first one didn’t just end a generation ago)?

    Somebody’s missing something, methinks: Apparently red state rednecks just want to shoot things and be left alone to drain their wetlands, pump dioxin and PCB’s into streams, cut down anything they can call a saw-log, and sell the rest for firewood.

    In that scenario you can forget saving habitat or endangered ‘varmints’ who will all (as in each and every to the very last one) just end up barbequed on some trailer-dwelling polycarbonate fiesta-ware platter

    This whole charade of trusting the local municipalities and states to enact laws effectively protecting the ‘common’ good (as if states were a bunch of islands sharing not the same landmass, water, woods and species), is absurd. This country is if anything far smaller than Paul’s old man notion of individual nation-states floating in a sea of endlessly expendable wilderness. It’s like something from back in Daniel Boone days, patriots pickin’ off redcoats and complaining about the price of tea.

    And what about the old problem of slave-states vs. the rest of normal humanity? Isn’t Paul here proposing we allow the reversing a few of the more fortuitous federal functions, like the Emancipation Proclamation? Sounds far-fetched, but one wonders if Paul feels the feds were ‘treading’ on ‘state’s rights’ or the constitution by freeing the slaves.

    Absurd you say, “Paul would never allow it” (and hopefully not). But from my reading there’s absolutely nothing in his platform preventing Alabama from voting to re-enact segregation (remember, he’s against the Civil Rights Act). It would be up to the victims to sue in local courts— (Hullo?… anyone still remember the Jena Six, yet only 6 months on?? So much for local red-neck kangaroo courts upholding human rights). Based on the paulian program as it’s presented to his public, supporters had better be ready for more ‘strange fruit’ hangin’ from poplar trees if you give those hooded heretics reason to ‘vote’ for local southern ‘policy’.

    And we’re not even mentioning labor laws, minimum wage, women’s suffrage– the list of hard-won worker and human rights against the single-minded. male dominated profit-motive of business is long, and still oozing life. These federal protections were hard won with the blood of those who fought just such a corporatocratic regime as Paul apparently proposes.

    But my concern is less for those who can file lawsuits (and the burgeoning pro-bono army of sleazy lawyers filing fpr this windfall of likely lucrative litigation), when courts can’t handle the legions of opportunistic ambulance-chasers we already have haunting the halls of ‘justice’).

    My concern is for those who have no voice, who can’t file complaints nor take up firearms to defend themselves against the ‘revolutionary’ patriots of Ruby Ridge or Wacko, TX.

    In the fine words of Gerald Durell: “Remember that the animals and plants have no Member of Parliament they can write to; they can’t perform sit-down strikes…they have nobody to speak for them except us, the human beings who share the world with them, but do not own it.”

    When it comes to protecting the ‘Liberty’ of the other nations of animals and plants, as well as our health from long-term industrial toxins, the only choice you have with this electorate, as proven by it’s red-state voting record and prior typical abuse, is to regulate them to smithereens, from every possible angle you can.

    Leaving life on earth up to locals to litigate is preposterous. You would need a full time fleet of Erin Brokoviches in every town to take on industry’s criminal antics pro-bono on behalf of the local inbred, illiterate electorate, who could care less if Big Coal levels the whole state of WV and makes it into a toxic parking lot (as we now see), as long as they’re gettin’ their minimum wage for their efforts and black-lung in the pits.

    Now I’ve not been on the front lines there in Humboldt, but based on what I’ve read and followed these last years since Luna, the ONLY thing slowing down PL was the Endangered Species Act and their need to file and approve THP’s. Now certainly the system is not nearly as effective as one would have hoped, but if they had no fed law, PL would have denuded the place a decade ago.

    As I recall, much hope was placed in local and state lawmakers to mandate greater protections for ancient trees and streams, and we waited an entire term of Governor Gray Davis for him to honor his campaign promises to help. But last I heard in the months before your new governator, NCEF and others were leading the charge to have Davis recalled for not honoring his campaign commitments to the old growth and it’s preservation.

    And what ever happened to the ‘Heritage Tree Preservation Act’, which made such perfect sense by preserving ancients as not the province of a particular land-owner, but as perhaps the greatest expression of life on earth, transcending anyone who ever ‘owned’ the dirt they’ve lived on for millennia? Seems to me the state killed that one for these very ‘Paulian’ principles, which would doubtless determine that the law would impinge on ‘private property rights’.

    Now I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the Ron Paul Paradigm and it’s inherently anti-environmentalist-by-default principles, has already been tried on the very places the Tree-sitters have so valiantly fought to preserve.

    I agree ‘revolution’ sounds all well and good, considering the frustration we all feel with the status quo, but the ‘Paul Revolution’ is, once again the sort of thing one wants to avoid at all costs!

    I reiterate that if one is so passionate about a presidential platform as the paulies seem to be, then one should be very careful about actually reading the positions, especially when they already clearly carry some very controversial clauses.

    I would also perk up my ears at any presidential preacher whose main sponsors are among the military. Paul is very proud of his pandemic, rabid support among the enlisted militarists of our nationalistic mass-murdering goon-squad (all federal employees, mind you).

    But based upon the fully failed dogma these dopes duped themselves into and which they uphold to this day (despite the compelling case that what they are doing is illegal and in violation of all moral, ethical and religious doctrine, as well as the Geneva accords prohibiting individual soldiers from acting on illegal or immoral orders thus rendering each enlisted man choosing to be deployed and kill in Iraq nothing short of murderous, psychopathic war-criminals). I would certainly do a double-take at any candidate who falls back so fully on funding from the military, which looks now more like a federal cult of violent, blood-thirsty crazies than a grass-roots group of ‘revolutionaries’.

    All very odd indeed, odd enough to think a few more thoughts before throwing one’s support and activist efforts behind the Ron Paul Parade.

  8. Dandy,
    Without government, Corporations can barely exist, the laws won’t support their Immunity, they will become responsible to their community. We are smarter than one or two generations ago, what was pulled before, is just a No go.

    Minimum Wage, I don’t care if it is $7.25, or $1,000.oop/h, should the Economy collapse, Federal Law, you can’t work for less. How many start up business’, you as an owner, work for less pay by hour, are you Guilty ? Its a Felony, no longer able to vote or own a ***, and all you were doing was pursuing the “American Dream” !
    Besides the Worker must accept the B/S. pay any way, try to raise a family on nothing, it’s the same as today. Minimum Wage does not benefit those on the bottom, Corporate Elite, now can say, we got them !

    Education should be the responsibility of each state, some will be poor some will be great, but your tax money should stay within your state.
    The Citizens would have to re-consider, to build Prison’s for children, or a school, which would be better. Besides most of the tax’s dollars are sent to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, M. I. T., and other prestigious selected Mentor’s, to subjugate the thoughts of the Young Inventor’s. Corrections business’ probably will vote for the prison, but would the Individuals be so inclined with that decision?

    I know Abortion is a controversial topic, should a state sponsor Infanticide, or Capital Punishment ? This is a direct assault on one of the guarantee’s, “…among them are, Life…” To callously destroy an innocent life, and claim we want that, as a right ? Exceptions to the rule, of course, a communities choice, but give the Individuals in that community a voice .
    And to think Women have but two rights on the books, one to “vote”, and the other to abort. Shouldn’t women have the right to Fight, a Burglar, a Rapist, an Intruder, or an Abusive Partner ?
    Run away, that is the Governments, best answer?

    Our Federal Govt. has approx. 4,000 Federal Laws, how many do you really need ? Ignorance of the Law is NO EXCUSE ! Hell we can’t even follow ten, and even those have been over-ruled, so, we are now really screwed.
    Suppose I drilled, or dug a hole on my property, should the fruits be mine, or confiscated by public domain, with me in jail, and on top a fine ?

    Our Founder’s gave the World a remarkable thing, Individual Freedom, to be anything. They remove the bonds that hold the races back, all things come in time that is a fact. Why aren’t the laws put to a vote, a consent the will of the people(Individuals) ? The Legislature would then write laws that are for good for the people (Individuals), and if passed, would be then be Socially Acceptable. To big business’ this is totally unacceptable.
    Wouldn’t this make for a more harmonious and peaceful place, the rule of the Individual, who causes no Harm and/or Injury, besides don’t we still have courts and a Jury? How the rules to us as individuals do not apply, we(collectively) must be monitored from the sky. A chip to decide who lives and who dies, patriot’s where are you, I can’t hear your cries.

    Freedom is scary that is true, but creative creatures I know what to do. I will become once again self sufficient, reliant upon no-one, barter will replace the fiat dollars deficient. ‘There is nothing to Fear, but fear itself”. Have we as individuals become so weak in our creative thinking, that we won’t think about the way to make ours and the rest of the world a better place, rather than leave it burning and stinking ?

    Freedom =’s Individual Responsibility.
    Goverment =’s Controls & Obedience

    The choice is clear, the choice is near.
    TY Dandy, another of your great debates, not Q & A’s, like the candidates. If I’ve ruffled some feathers, I apologize, speaking thoughts that come from the heart, sometimes hurts, but spoken not hidden which is better ?

  9. Pingback: In a Hole? Dig Deeper! A Reply to the Left on Ron Paul by Sherry Wolf « Dandelion Salad

  10. Bon,
    Your first paragraph refers almost entirely to the horrific crimes of militarism, which nobody here is disputing. But I think there is indeed a distinction between civilian abuse of the environment for selfish, private enterprise goals, and the sort of pandemic wanton intentional destruction that occurs in state-sponsored war.

    Now I’m certainly no history buff, but I don’t believe the history of state regulation and it’s enforcement regarding the environment and endangered species would support your and Paul’s idea that federal environmental regulation of endangered species, clean water, clean air, etc. is adequately addressed or enforced by states, nor are state and local governments ever likely to be incentivised to countermand the selfish desires of their constituency, especially as it pertains to amerigoons bizarre cultural frontier nostalgia and proclivity to shoot things into extinction and abuse nature in general.

    State governments are typically beholden to local business interests who hold sway over policy time and again, and business typically cares not for consequences of it’s actions (present wave of ‘green-washing’ notwithstanding).

    If states were successfully mandating environmental controls of industry and its antics, which are designed entirely around the profit motive at the expense of anyone and anything else, to the very limits of the legal (and anything else that can be gotten away with or cronyistically grafted or bribed, etc.) then the Act would never have come into being, and it’s sponsors would never have selflessly sacrificed to get the law on the books. Without that law dozens of species would by now be gone. Do the Paulies even care?

    But look how a gun-totin’ red state like Montana manages wolves: The minute wolves are barely de-listed, that state is shooting wolves from the air wholesale, claiming they harass livestock. Buffalo were protected, but Montana allows you to shoot them in the eye the minute the buffalo roam outside of Yellowstone.

    Fact is environmental controls on industry and individuals is woefully inadequate already, and the power of ‘neighbors’ under Paul’s position to successfully litigate against Midwest smokestacks, for example, which spew acid that has killed most of the thousands of lakes and streams in the Adirondacks, our largest wilderness preserve, is so daunting that no civilian nor even neighboring states have effectively regulated that output despite the science.

    There you have not only a case against the effectiveness of states and even ‘neighbor’ states to moderate the destructiveness of acid rain for decade after decade, but it is known now for decades that certain thousands of asthmatics, etc. will each year die from this very coal combustion pollution. If States were such responsible enforcers of the common good, why wouldn’t they regulate these polluters, which they refused to do despite the lawsuits levied and petitions signed, etc? The local profit motive of their local constituency is apparently far too important for states to effectively control the clear abuse. States have an apparent disincentive to work for the common good at the expense of business, and they’re not about to fix that all by themselves.

    Industry succeeds in bending even the most obvious rules because it’s so expensive to litigate against them, and so many local politicians and judges are in their pockets. Case in point, it took decades of activism to get big tobacco to remotely behave responsibly, despite the full knowledge we now know they had all that time of it’s carcinogenesis.

    Which reminds us once again about the sinister nature of corporations (thanks for that video Lo!) and the state governments which are financially and culturally in their pocket. I suspect Ron Paul, Like Ron Reagan, pushed deregulation purely for the profit motive, not anything to do with personal ‘liberty’.

    And as proven by the vastly increasing divide between the elites and the poor in this country since Reagan, ‘trickle down’ categorically didn’t work! Are you really ready to try yet another un-tested, suspiciously slanted economic model, only to find out it’s a disaster decades on?

    Which reminds me, the #2 killer and health-care disaster after I think heart disease is cancer, fully 1/3rd of which is lung cancer, likely virtually all tobacco-related. There you have it again, private enterprise run completely amok despite full knowledge of the health risks for decades. Do you think the governors of Big Tobacco States were gonna feel sorry for sick and dying lung-cancer patients trying to sue their biggest palm greasers? I’m no expert, certainly, but I seem to remembered this scandal: http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/1996/05/stone1.html

    So then this 2nd amendment ‘right to bear arms’ which the militia movement is so militant about, should allow us to stockpile hand-grenades, missile launchers and tactical nukes in order to arm us against the fed blackwater goons who’ll be para-trooping out of choppers like Red Dawn, am I right?
    Imagine the feds trying to subjugate a country like the USA, they can’t even handle a country the size of Texas, nor get water to Katrina victims for 5 days!

    Does anyone have anything to say about Paul’s now infamous support of the Patriots, land of Timothy McVeigh, the worst domestic terrorist of all time?

    Paul supports nuclear power, potentially the longest lasting environmental catastrophe of all time (see Lo’s great post of the interview with Helen Caldicott)

    Paul is categorically anti-abortion, for what that’s worth to liberals.

    Paul opposed the civil rights act of 1964, claiming it reduced liberty.

    Paul’s site says “The key to sound environmental policy is respect for private property rights. The strict enforcement of property rights corrects environmental wrongs while increasing the cost of polluting” which we’ve already seen above does not work on a national scale, nor even on a local or inter-state scale, and is inviting the worst possible abuses of deregulation, graft and disaster with the only recourse being that the injured party can sue after the damage is already done, putting no national controls in place to forestall that damage, instead relying on states to mandate regulation at it’s prerogative, which we see also doesn’t work.

    Paul says: “I can’t find endangered species written in the Constitution”:, advocating the dissolution of federal protections like the endangered species act which would be a disastrous crime if one looks at the history of US citizen and commercial abuse of species and all the domestic prior extinctions.

    Paul is the most vocal advocate of gun rights, claiming that the reason for the second amendment is about fighting the federal military to fend off government abuse, ignoring the hideous gun violence promoted more by easy commercial access to guns, and especially to ammo, than black-market weapons.

    And to think the populace with their shotguns plan to use them in case the military and their daisy-cutter bombs come knocking is absurd. (White-bred Americans want their guns because they like to kill animals, not because they anticipate an attack from the feds).

    Paul disavows any conspiracy behind the 911 attacks, stating it was a ‘failure of bureaucracy’ (Do the Alex Jones supporters who flock behind Paul realize this?)

    Paul apparently opposes universal health care, espousing a Giuliani-style tax-credit instead.

    Paul voted against impeaching Cheney, stating there was not the ‘evidence’, yet he somehow found the ‘evidence’ to impeach Clinton. This clearly dubious dichotomy in his duplicitous votes thoroughly undermines whatever ‘credibility’ his supporters seem to find in his agreeable and countenance. But nobody seems interested in addressing this particular double-standard, which is especially conspicuous coming from this lauded ‘constitutionalist’ whom everyone seems to ‘trust’ so much, and which was the reason for my skepticism about him in the first place, finally finding all this (and I’ve certainly found enough to see that a Paul presidency is a disastrous idea, he is truly an extremist and not this refreshing voice of revolution everyone seems so eager to claim).

    I’m not here saying each of Paul’s points is bad, or that he’s a horrible warmongering criminal like Cheney, but there is enough truly wacky extremism under that crown to sideline his sole asset, his anti-war position. About the only other redeeming value to the good Dr. Paul and his positions is his apparent support of unregulated access to dietary supplements.

    Now I don’t think we’re in danger of a Paul presidency, but I do question the militancy behind the Ron Paul ‘Revolution’, and it’s attractiveness to some on the left who should be lining up their energy behind Kucinich (who is also anti-war, has a sound and proven national health-care plan, but doesn’t come with all this sinister, selfish, commerce-is-god, gun-totin’ militia mania).

    What’s up there, fellas?

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