Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Ron Paul and the progressives' weird flirtation with right-wing extremism

One of the bigger points of frustration during this campaign season has been the popularity of Ron Paul and his pseudo-libertarianism. Paul has zero chance of winning the nomination (did he ever?) and is increasingly irrelevant as the race becomes dominated by the shenanigans of Gingrich and Romney. The idea of Ron Paul ever becoming president is a complete fantasy, so I'm not concerned about that nightmare. What does freak me out are Ron Paul's supporters. I'm not talking about the racist, paranoid, teabaggers who crawled out from under their rocks after a socialist/Muslim/Kenyan/fascist Black man became president. No, those freaks aren't a threat (but they do offer hours and hours of laughs!). What concerns me are his supporters from the Left.

Can you please explain this madness to me?

I agree that the U.S. should end the wars and adopt a more isolationist military policy (we're broke!). But, Paul thinks the U.S. shouldn't get involved in any war. In fact, Paul thinks that the U.S. shouldn't have fought against Hitler, because "saving the Jews" was not a "moral imperative". He also opposes all foreign aid and believes the US should leave NATO, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Most Lefties say they like Paul's opposition to the Patriot Act and his defence of civil liberties. Maybe. But his mantra of "personal freedoms" ends when it comes to gay marriage and a women's right to choose. His record on abortion rights in appalling; he voted in favor of a ban on partial birth abortion and he wants to see Roe v Wade repealed so the issue can be settled by the states. Paul wants to limit the federal government's ability to create and enforce legislation regulating what a state can and cannot do. But, when it comes to protecting the rights of individuals within the states....meh.

You see, to Ron Paul, federal legislation to protect civil rights at the state level and within private enterprises is a big “no-no”. He opposes the Americans with Disabilities Act because "it's an intrusion into private property rights" and he says that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, he is opposed to any legislation against discrimination in the workplace based on gender or sexual orientation. Basically, he is speaking on both sides of his mouth: he claims to be in favor of individual freedoms, but is also totally in favor of allowing states to limit individual freedoms.

Does. Not. Compute.
Let’s take a look at some of his other positions of craziness (via Crooks and Liars):

·         Wants to abolish the income tax
·         Wants to place the U.S. on the gold standard
·         Would allow people to engage in trade using gold and silver instead of currency
·         Wants to eliminate the taxation of foreign income
·         Doesn’t believe in global warming
·         Says Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are unconstitutional
·         Wants to eliminate antitrust laws
·         Wants to eliminate estate taxes
·         Taxes would be a flat 10% on all earners
·         Would get rid of tax credits to individuals who are not corporations        
·         Would eliminate tax credits for the elderly, child care and earned incomes
·         He has voted to make it easier to decertify unions
·         Opposes the FDIC
·         Opposes raising the debt ceiling – ever.
·         Wants to freeze spending at 2004 levels
·         Believes widespread bankruptcy would be a good stimulus for the nation
·         Opposed the auto bailouts
·         Opposes regulation of tobacco
·         Sponsored the Marriage Protection Act
·         Would repeal affirmative action
·         Would limit the scope of Brown v Board of Education
·         Thinks emergency rooms should be allowed to turn away undocumented immigrants
·         Wants to defund Planned Parenthood
·         Voted in favor and signed the GOP nominee pledge in favor of fetal personhood
·         Supports a ban on flag burning
·         Supports a ban on the federal funding of stem cell research
·         Opposes subsidies for prescription drugs for seniors
·         Opposes mandatory vaccinations
·         Would expand offshore drilling
·         Would increase mining on federal lands
·         Would weaken Clean Air Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
·         Would repeal Soil and Water Conservation Act
·         Wants to eliminate the departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor
·         Would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency
·         Would eliminate FEMA and OHSA
·         Would eliminate the Federal Reserve
·         Would eliminate AmeriCorps
·         Would eliminate gas taxes
·         Believes we have no right to health care
·         Believes law enforcement can’t help people, only armed citizens can prevent violence
·         Believes groups of people don’t have rights, only individuals do
·         Believes in the concept of “jury nullification”, the concept that a jury can judge not only the facts of a case but the justness of the law itself
·         Believes social welfare should be in the hands of individuals only and not government

(For links to the above and more! Go to Crooks and Liars)

And then there is the issue of the newsletters. How can you claim to be a liberal/progressive and a Ron Paul supporter after reading this?:
"I've been told not to talk, but these stooges don't scare me. Threats or no threats, I've laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one)." - Direct mail ad promoting Paul's newsletters, 1993.
"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 wonder the AIDS epidemic started after they 'came out of the cloaset', and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?" - June 1990
"[Martin Luther King, Jr.], the FBI files reveal, was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys...And we are supposed to honor this 'Christian minister' and lying socialist satyr with a holiday that puts him on par with George Washington?" - December 1990
Do you really want to be associated with a man who is supported by America's neo-Nazis?

Look, we are living in very difficult times. With the unending wars and attacks on civil liberties, I definitely understand the need to find someone who is willing to take on the system. Ron Paul is not that man. In fact, it is his brand of extremism that we - as good liberals and progressives - should be fighting against.

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