Ron Paul – Radical Or Ridiculous?

Ron Paul is either a respectable, insightful voice of liberty or an eccentric old fool clinging to long out dated and daft ideas. A man who will save us from the clutches big government or someone who will deliver us into the claws of big business. Someone willing to challenge the PC brigade and speak the truth or a bigoted racist. A voice of common sense or a man ignorant of facts of life. A brave advocate of a new vision for American foreign policy or an isolationalist crank who wishes to cut America off from the rest of the world. A man who can bring great prosperity to the nation or economic Armageddon. Someone who belongs in the White House as leader of the free world or someone who belongs in a cave wearing a tinfoil hat, muttering conspiracy theories.

Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas and is running for President. While he has yet to win a single state, he undoubtedly has the most distinctive ideas of all the candidates. You could sum up Paul’s basic ideology as: he wants to abolish the government. His ideal is where the state provides police and military duties and nothing else. He wishes to abolish almost all taxes. He wishes to get rid of income, sales and corporation tax, leaving only a small excise tax (a tax on imports) to run the government. He has voted to abolish almost every government agency including the Federal Reserve.

He has pledged to never raise taxes. “High taxes stifle innovation, prevent saving, destroy production, crush the middle class and the poor, and discourage investment.  Every American is entitled to the fruits of his labor, especially during these tough economic times. . . Lowering taxes will leave you more money to take care of yourself and your family, and it will allow businesses greater opportunities to hire new workers, increase current salaries, and expand their companies.” He has gone further claiming that the income tax is”one of the most egregious encroachments on our liberties today. It is a form of involuntary servitude that makes you “a slave to government.”

His recipe for economic prosperity is to reduce the size of the government, by cutting taxes and spending.  He opposes all anti-poverty measures saying “The misguided federal ‘War on Poverty’ has proven disastrous to our nation. Federal intervention only resulted in more poverty, as the welfare rolls grew while employment shrank and mothers were encouraged to have children out-of-wedlock because the more children they had, the bigger the check they got from the federal government

Paul has a distinctive view on foreign affairs. Alone among Republican candidates, he opposes all foreign intervention. He voted against the Iraq War from the beginning and has consistently called for all troops to be brought home. He has also called from America to withdraw from NATO and the United Nations. He opposed the Patriot Act, all uses of torture during interrogation and the War on Terror. Alone among Republicans he opposes the ethnic profiling of Muslims as an anti-terrorism technique. On the campaign trail last month he said that “Maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in foreign policy. Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want have them do to us. We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us.”

He is also known for his opposition to the War on Drugs and has called for marijuana to be legalised. He feels the current ban on drugs is a violation of a person’s individual liberty and that people should be free to live their lives as they wish. “We want freedom when it comes to our personal habits.” He describes the war on drugs as “a total failure” and argues that drugs should be treated the same way as alcohol.

Paul is not so libertarian on all issues, strongly opposing abortion in all cases. It is hard to reconcile his constant statements about liberty and allowing people to choose, but not when it comes to a woman’s body. His stance has been ridiculed as opposing government intervention in the economy but supporting it in the uterus.

Paul holds the unusual belief that America should withdraw from the United Nations as it supposedly limits American sovereignty. He believes there are attempts to turn the United Nations into a world government. He believes the “socialist” UN is a serious threat to private property rights and the right to bear arms. Eventually the UN will destroy organised religion and replace it with atheism. Just last month, he claimed the UN will take our land leading to riots in the streets.

He believes protection of the environment should be left to the free market and believes global warming is a hoax. “You know, the greatest hoax I think that has been around in many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on the environment and global warming.” He similarly doesn’t believe in evolution. “I think it’s a theory, the theory of evolution, and I don’t accept it as a theory.” He also opposes mandatory government vaccination policy, believing nothing should be forced upon people, despite the medical benefits.

Paul has been highly critical of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed all discrimination based on race. On the 40th anniversary of the law Paul was the only member of Congress who voted against a motion commemorating it. He claimed it “undermined the concept of liberty” and “destroyed the principle of private property and private choices.” In other words forcing businesses to serve black as well as white people is a violation of the business owner’s rights. In 1999, he was the only Congressman to vote against awarding a medal to Rosa Parks.

From 1978 to 2001, a newsletter was published in his name that dealt with various economic and political issues. Although the articles rarely had by-lines, they were usually written in the first person and it was implied that Paul was the author. The newsletters printed openly racist statements such as: “I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [Washington, DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.””Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressmen. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day!”

They also contained viciously homophobic statements like: “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came ‘out of the closet,’ and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy? I don’t believe so, medically or morally”. Ron Paul denies have written or even read the articles and claims he does not know who did write them. Some of his former associates have come forward and claimed Paul read and approved all articles in the newsletter. It sounds incredible that someone would not even read their own newsletter and not know who did. Surely if someone was using your name to preach racism you would instantly put a stop to it instead of leaving it to continue for decades?

Ron Paul has many traditional conservative opinions such as shrinking the size of the government. He has several novel ones on drugs and foreign policy. He has several eccentric ones on the UN, civil rights and global warming. And there is the issue of the newsletters and their disgusting racism. Love him or hate him, he is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive and unique politicians in America.

(Article originally written for The College Tribune)

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