Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Defense of Ron Paul

A Response to ‘Antiwar “Lefts” embrace ultra-right Republican candidate Ron Paul, and All Similar Anti-Paul Propaganda


Hmm... I wonder why statists attack Ron Paul...

For those who strongly oppose a limited, constitutional central government, it’s easier to use superficial arguments to make a gripping ideological point than it is to simply come out and say, “Screw the Constitution,” or, “the Constitution is pliable, optional, novel, obsolete.” But ignoring the ethical and logical grounds for the positions taken by an ideological opponent, in favor of such an m.o., is ultimately self-defeating. Case in point: Jerry White and Jeff Lincoln’s January 22 article published by World Socialist Web Site and ironically misnamed “Antiwar ‘Lefts’ embrace ultra-right Republican candidate Ron Paul.”

It’s ironic because, like so many Paul-smearers in corporate media and “ultra-right” circles, the authors (henceforth “W&L”) seem to veil a disregard for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and U.S. sovereignty under a veneer of big-government agitprop riddled with misquotes, misnomers, disinfo, fallacy, and innuendo. It’s misnamed because, unlike those who would occupy W&J’s “ultra-right,” Congressman Ron Paul, by virtue of his strict constitutionalist and libertarian principles, is opposed to (forbidden from) the imposition of his political will upon everyone else through federal mandates.

Like self-styled gatekeepers and sheep-herders of the ”left,” W&L offer no substantial refutation to Ron Paul’s actual positions based on legal ethics, while implying superficial moral dichotomies to paint Paul as being: 1) anti-war for political reasons only, and 2) insensitive to wage-earners, minorities, the sick, and the unemployed. But that is a 180° view of reality—even to Paul’s fiercest political opponents. The authors imply that there doesn’t exist those who would call themselves liberal Democrats or progressives yet who hold the US Constitution and founding principles in high regard, or who at least understand the logic behind those principles despite the perceivably negative effects on their social endeavors. (Congressman Dennis Kucinich’ supporters certainly know that he, more than any other Democrat running, has a considerable regard for some of these principles valued by Congressman Paul and disregarded by W&L and other opponents of constitutionally limited government.) W&L could’ve saved time by coming out and saying they want to ignore the Constitution, further empowering the welfare-warfare state over the people. But apparently, that wouldn’t fill the column space required to produce the proper agitating effect.

In closing their article—after exhausting all possible edgewise avenues to deny Paul his proven anti-war, anti-militarism track record—W&L resort to affixing his platform with the term “reactionary politics.” So, here’s my point-by-point “reactionary” response to the major offenses perpetrated by the two World Socialist authors (all emphasis mine):


"Far from opposing the economic and political domination of America’s ruling elite, Ron Paul is one of its most vociferous defenders of the capitalist system, saying, that the 'rights of all private property owners' are the key to 'maintain a free society.'"

Missing here is the authors' explanation of just how Paul’s respect for private property rights equates to defense of corporatist capitalism of the ruling elite. W&J’s outlook clouds the line between what Ron Paul supports (free market capitalism based on constitutional principles) and that which he opposes (mercantilism, corporatism, militarism). Irony B: His stance here is completely antithetical to that taken by his “ultra-right” contemporaries with whom W&L wrongly group him. Compare their voting records to what they've preached; then, compare Ron Paul’s.

W&L then assert a misconception:


"The only means of putting an end to war, therefore, is by putting an end to the capitalist system that produces it."

The capitalism Ron Paul champions is not what we have today, or even for the last hundred-or-so years. In fact, what W&L refer to hardly resembles capitalism at all. It’s more akin to fascism, wherein “America’s ruling elite” (corporations, bureaucrats, and politicians) benefit from government largesse through their mutually beneficial and illicit ventures. Capital is actually stolen from taxpayers to foot the bill for ventures yielding benefits for only a few—typically, the “ruling elite.” No wonder socialists complain; the big-government "right" gets its militarism funded ad libitum, while the "left's" domestic programs get looted. Meanwhile, we, the people on both sides, are robbed to finance it, as corporatists on both sides increase their profits.

Irony C: All the wars of the Twentieth Century have been financed, almost exclusively, through a system of debt and taxes, via the Federal Income Tax and the Federal Reserve Bank. Neither of which are constitutional, yet they finance the U.S. government's welfare and warfare (a repetition?). That is central planning: a trait of—dare I say it?—a socialist society.

Paul’s free market approach frowns strongly upon such taxation-without-representation and any use of force to exact economic, social, or political changes. Furthermore, the concept of underwriting a nation’s every economic venture through a central bank is antithetical to the ideals of truly free market capitalism. [1][2]

Misquoting Paul on his Iraq War stance:


"Rather than UN resolutions, Paul said, 'I happen to like it more when the president speaks about unilateralism and national security interests' to declare war. When the US 'depends on the UN for our instructions,' he insisted, 'we end up in no-win wars.'"

Here’s what Ron Paul actually said:


“I happen to think I would rather listen to the President when he talks about unilateralism and national security interests, than accept this responsibility to follow all of the rules and the dictates of the United Nations. That is what this resolution does.” [3]

Not only did W&L not use elipses for the omission of words; they put their own words into the quoted text to suit their rant. Are W&L in favor of going to war based on UN Resolutions? Is that where they disagree with Paul?

Also, he didn't utter the exact phrase “we end up in no-win wars.” That's just a sloppy misquote—no harm done. But, next they attribute, to Paul’s aversion to war, a motive that doesn’t exist:


"The first President Bush 'didn’t go all the way' in the first Gulf War, Paul complained, because G.H.W. Bush said 'the UN did not give him permission to.'"

Paul wasn’t complaining that Bush, Sr., didn’t go all the way; he was using President NewWorldOrder's absurd reasoning against him. Here’s the actual quote:


“We are still in the Persian Gulf War. We have been bombing for 12 years, and the reason President Bush, Sr., did not go all the way? He said the U.N. did not give him permission to.” [ibid.]

He’s complaining that because Bush conducted the aggression at the mercy of the UN: 1) we went in illegally, 2) we’ve been there too long, and therefore, 3) the war is unwinnable, as are all similar ones.

Next, another paraphrasing presented as a direct quote:


"When you go 'through the backdoor' with UN-declared wars, Paul said, 'wars last longer and you do not have a completion, like we had in Korea and Vietnam.'"

Again, no anti-Paul rant value there, but just for the record, what he actually said was:


“[W]hen we go to war through the back door, we are more likely to have the wars last longer and not have resolution of the wars, such as we had in Korea and Vietnam.“ [ibid.]

W&L finally quote Paul correctly:


"He warned if the US did not leave the UN, its 'global planners' would establish a 'true world government' that would 'interfere not only in our nation’s foreign policy matters, but in our domestic policies as well' and 'America as we know it will cease to exist.'"

He did say those things, but he also said:


“They increasingly want to influence our domestic environmental, trade, labor, tax, and gun laws. . . . [T]hese goals are readily promoted on the UN’s own website. UN planners do not care about national sovereignty; in fact they are openly opposed to it. They correctly view it as an obstacle to their plans. They simply aren’t interested in our Constitution and republican form of government. . . . Noted constitutional scholar Herb Titus has thoroughly researched the United Nations and its purported ‘authority.’ Titus explains that the UN Charter is not a treaty at all, but rather a blueprint for supranational government that directly violates the Constitution. As such, the Charter is neither politically nor legally binding upon the American people or government. The UN has no authority to make ‘laws’ that bind American citizens, because it does not derive its powers from the consent of the American people.” [4]

Do W&L dispute that? Or are they simply in favor of a UN-run United States, nullification of our Constitution, and total loss of US sovereignty?

What comes next is fantasy:


"Paul voted to authorize the war against Afghanistan."

Paul voted for the authority to go after the alleged perpetrators of the WTC tower attacks—not to overthrow the Taliban and occupy Afghanistan. It was not an authorization to attack a state.


"His criticisms of the Iraq War are conditional and tactical, chiefly centering on the complaint that it is undermining 'national defense' by overstretching the US military forces and its high cost is creating ever-greater economic dependence on foreign powers and potential enemies like 'Communist China.'"

But of course, the authors didn’t dispute any of that either; after all, you can’t dispute what you omit. Paul’s criticisms of the Iraq war are on legal and moral grounds: the lack of a constitutional declaration of war, the unnecessary loss of lives, the financial burden on U.S. taxpayers, and an imminent bankruptcy via having to borrow about a billion dollars a day from our creditors—i.e., “Communist China” and Japan—to sustain that overstretched military. [5]




[6]


The following excerpts fall under the section: “Who is Ron Paul.”


"[D]uring his terms in Congress he ingratiated himself with the most right-wing elements of the political establishment."

Ron Paul panders to no special interests that this writer knows of—much less, “the most right-wing” ones—but if it helps the rant, then what the heck. But by using the term ingratiated, are W&L implying a lack of principles? Perhaps the answer lies in an implication of cronyism. Like, uh, this one:


"[In his early years in Congress] he used his seat on the House Banking Committee to advocate complete banking deregulation and the abolishing of the Federal Reserve Board.

"The favor was returned, as Paul was able to gain the backing of the ultra-rich, such as multi-billionaire Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, the largest privately held company in the United States, and Steve Forbes, who would later be instrumental in financing Paul’s reelection campaigns in the 1990s."

Koch donated all of $1,000 to Paul’s campaign on two occasions: in ‘80 and ‘83. In ‘84, he donated $1,000 to Paul’s Senatorial campaign; but then withdrew the donation. [7] Scandalous! Scandalous, I tell ya! (I know some multi-hundredaires who’ve donated more than that to Paul’s current campaign.) And Steve Forbes donated zero dollars to any of Paul’s campaigns. [8]


"In his private practice, he refused to accept Medicare or Medicaid payments from patients, claiming they were paying with 'stolen money.'"

Dr. Ron Paul, MD, treated those people at no charge or on a pay-as-you-can basis. And Medicare funds are indeed stolen. In fact, it’s stolen two-fold: from taxpayers (the constitution does not allow for federal taxation mandated by such programs that take the fruits of your labor and give it to me, and vice versa), and then from the trust funds themselves (politicians gut Medicare and Social Security to pay for the “pet projects” they’d otherwise have no way of funding without—you guessed it!—imposing an unconstitutional tax).

And W&J don’t bother qualifying a fantastic twist on Paul’s approach to liberating the people through free market ideals:


"Paul often denounces 'corporate welfare' and the influence that large corporations have within government. He also voices opposition to an inflationary monetary policy on the grounds that the real wages of workers are being eroded. His actual policy proposals, however, are based entirely on removing any restrictions on corporations and wealthy individuals to amass more wealth and exploit workers even more brutally."

While it’s true that conditions exist in which workers are exploited and CEOs amass untold sums of money they otherwise have no business amassing, W&L’s framing of Paul’s opposition to federal (unconstitutional) intervention in private business contracts is resembling the debunked Noam Chomsky contortions. [9]

What’s missed here is that the amassing of wealth and the exploitation of workers referred to by W&L are primarily a result of said corporations’ and labor unions' benefiting from preferential federal treatment. It has a lot to do with monetary policy too. Ron Paul has written extensively on these issues on behalf of the people, and has proposed many pieces of legislation to combat the state malfeasance. [10][11][12] Of course, his legislation rarely gets voted on, much less passed. Why? Because the very same corporations W&L speak of employ lobbyists and others to influence Members of Congress to vote against them or block the votes altogether. The term “special interests” is more than just a glittering generality.


"He wishes to eliminate income taxes completely by abolishing virtually every federal department and domestic program. Paul advocates the elimination of the Department of Education, Social Security, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, minimum wage laws, unemployment insurance, and virtually every other gain won by the struggle of previous generations of workers."

This is an example of how Paul’s more disengenuous detractors dodge the more root-level logic behind Paul’s position, in favor of superficial ideological arguments and sheer fantasy—a much easier approach than to appear on the wrong side of legal and moral ethics. The premises for Paul’s aversion to such tyrannical federal programs—besides the obvious taxation-without-representation—are logically sound. On the Department of Education, Michael Tennant writes:


"Would you trust an authorized biography or an autobiography to give you the whole truth about a person’s life? It would be foolish to do so because the subject has every incentive to emphasize the positive things he has done and to deemphasize or even exclude the negative ones.

"Most mainstream history texts are nothing more than authorized biographies of government. They overemphasize government’s achievements and downplay its failures, which makes sense when you consider that a sizable percentage of historians are employed by publicly funded colleges and universities and thus are naturally sympathetic to government activism and, in addition, have no desire to play a tune that fails to please the one who is paying the piper.

"Since the state runs almost all the schools and thus purchases the overwhelming majority of textbooks, textbook publishers have little incentive to produce texts critical of the government for there would be no profit in doing so. Hence, while history texts may criticize certain individual politicians or programs, they dare not call the entire enterprise of the state into question." [13]


Congressman Paul, on OSHA:


"Some may argue that occasional regulatory excess is a small price to pay for a safe workplace. However, there is no evidence that OSHAs invasiveness promotes workplace safety! While it is true that workplace accidents have declined since OSHAs creation, OSHA itself has had little effect on the decline. Workplace deaths and accidents were declining before OSHAs creation, thanks to improvements in safety technology and changes in the occupational distribution of labor. Workplace fatalities declined from 30 deaths per 100,000 in 1945 to 18 deaths per 100,000 in 1969, three years before OSHAs creation. In contrast to the dramatic drop in workplace fatalities in the 24 years before OSHAs creation, workplace fatalities only declined from 18 per 100,000 to eight in the 21 years after OSHAs creation." [14]

Paul again, on monetary policy and minimum wage:


"Before the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, CEO income was about 30 times the average worker’s pay. Today, it’s closer to 500 times. It’s hard to explain this simply by market forces and increases in productivity. One Wall Street firm last year gave out bonuses totaling $16.5 billion. There’s little evidence that this represents free market capitalism.

"In 2006 dollars, the minimum wage was $9.50 before the 1971 breakdown of Bretton Woods. Today that dollar is worth $5.15. Congress congratulates itself for raising the minimum wage by mandate, but in reality it has lowered the minimum wage by allowing the Fed to devalue the dollar. We must consider how the growing inequalities created by our monetary system will lead to social discord." [15]


And the assertion that Ron Paul wants to eliminate Social Security is a half-truth. In fact, he’s the only one with a coherent plan to save the program for the folks who are dependent on it. As the economy recovers from the current crises, Social Security can then be transitioned out of the clinch of the federal government. (Too many links to list: visit http://www.ronpaullibrary.com/ and enter “social security” into the search field. Read some, then tell me he doesn’t care about the elderly and poor folks. Here’s a short YouTube clip where he explains how it relates to monetary policy.)




W&L suggest Paul’s positions are racist because he proposes an ending of birthright citizenship to newborns of illegal immigrants. But the Constitution does not explicitly allow automatic citizenship to those not under federal jurisdiction; so, why is it done? They also accuse him of “national chauvinism” and being “anti-immigrant” for his defense of US sovereignty against NAFTA, the UN, and other international organizations. But are ”Lefts” also worthy of the same disdain for holding the same constitutional positions? Or do they have to be from the “ultra-right” to merit such esteem from World Socialists?

On Paul’s abortion views, they claim:


"Paul’s brand of libertarianism doesn’t prevent him from opposing abortion in terms that are similar to those of the religious fundamentalists. This would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and allow the states to criminalize all abortion procedures. . . . Paul has similarly tried to remove federal court jurisdiction to decide whether the phrase 'under God' can be included in the Pledge of Allegiance, voted to ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and voted to prevent same-sex couples from adopting."

But don’t look for any proof from W&L; they don’t provide any. Why not? Because it’s disinfo. They omit that his votes are based on his opposition to any type of federal intervention in any area of one’s personal life—including abortion, for or against; all of which are constitutional positions. It is not controversial as W&L would have us believe. But this is just a part of a larger self-contradiction, as the next excerpt reveals.


"His consistent record of attacking democratic rights has prompted his supporters at Lew Rockwell.com to write a column approvingly posing the question, 'Will Ron Paul Be the Candidate of the Christian Right?'"

Whether by their own laziness or their desire to tell a noble lie to their readers, W&L didn’t account for the summary paragraph in the above cited article by Lawrence M. Vance:


"As a Christian, I admire Dr. Paul’s principled stand on many issues, but I don’t believe the leadership of the Christian Right will embrace him. I think they love centralization more than federalism. I think they love political power more than liberty. I think they love war more than peace. I think they love politicians more than principles. I think they love faith-based socialism more than the free market. And I think they love the state more than God Almighty." [16]

It appears that in their attempt to use a highly effective debating tool (citing the antagonist’s sources), Messrs. White and Lincoln ended up destroying their own argument.

The balance of W&L’s attack on Ron Paul, the Constitution, and individual liberty consists of a rehashing of the tired and long-debunked racist smear-hoax. [17] As should be expected, they borrowed heavily from the long-discredited, state-worshiping New Republic for their ammo:


"Ron Paul’s appeal to the extreme right and fascist groups is not a new phenomenon. In a recent article published by the New Republic, James Kurchick [sic] highlights the contents of some of Ron Paul’s newsletters, . . ."

Then onto the hackneyed but obligatory guilt-by-non-association-to-David Duke smear:


"A newsletter issue reporting on the Louisiana Senate primary election campaign of former Ku Klux Klan wizard David Duke in 1990 stated, . . ."

Wrapping it up by clinging edgewise to a denial of Paul's innocence:


"It is entirely unbelievable that Paul had no knowledge of the content of articles printed under his name for over a decade."

Because after all, he opposed federal civil rights legislation on those ridiculous, constitutional grounds of “private property rights”:


"As recently as 2004, he marked the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . by denouncing the measure from the floor of Congress for infringing on the 'rights of private property owners,' including the “customer service practices of every business in the country.'"

And as usual, W&L offer no argument on legal or moral grounds here, and naturally omit Paul’s career-long adulation for the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks, et al.—and his tireless dedication to the principles they espoused—evident in his voting record, his speeches on the floor of the House and on the campaign trail.

Like Paul has been saying all along, amending the Constitution is constitutional; the worst thing we can do is ignore it. (Look where the disregard for the rule of law has gotten us so far! [18][19]) If a larger and more coercive (thereby, unconstitutional) federal government is preferred—through which social and economic equality [sic] is violently enforced—then its opponents should
supplicate their representatives and try to amend the Constitution accordingly. But in the meantime, it's wise to recognize the root sources of the ails that affect both the "left" and the "right," in the effort to effectively remove both the pain and the infection. Only one presidential candidate has been doing just that: the good doctor, Ron Paul.

But, if "reactionary" is Paul’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution and his proven defense of every individual's life, liberty, and property in the face of central state tyranny, then I’ll gladly own the same label. Paint me a reactionary revolutionary.


[1] Jeffrey A. Tucker: "How Free Is the 'Free Market'?": www.mises.org: January 21, 2008
[2] Rep. Ron Paul, MD: "Has Capitalism Failed?":
www.house.gov/paul: July 9, 2002
[3] Paul: "Statement Opposing the use of Military Force against Iraq":
www.house.gov/paul: October 8, 2002
[4] Paul: "America National Sovereignty vs. UN 'International Law'- Time for Congress to Vote":
www.house.gov/paul: April 29, 2003
[5] Michael Shank: "Rep. Ron Paul on War, Peace, and the News Media": www.fpip.org: March 21, 2007
[6] ricardoalonzo: "Banned Ron Paul Video":
www.youtube.com: January 21, 2008
[7] NewsMeat, America's Most Popular Campaign Donor Search Engine: "Charles Koch's Federal Campaign Contribution Report":
www.newsmeat.com: January 21, 2008 (as of)
[8] NewsMeat: "Steve Forbes's Federal Campaign Contribution Report": January 21, 2008 (as of)
[9] Keith Preston: "In Defense of Ron Paul, Part One: A Reply to Noam Chomsky":
www.lewrockwell.com: December 28, 2007
[10] Paul: "The WAGE Act":
www.house.gov/paul: February 14, 2001
[11] Paul: "Minimum Wage Increase Act":
www.house.gov/paul: May 9, 2000
[12] Paul: "Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley!":
www.house.gov/paul: April 14, 2005
[13] Michael Tennant: "An Authorized Biography of the State":
www.lewrockwell.com: January 16, 2008
[14] Paul: "Statement on OSHA Home Office Regulations Submitted before
the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations":
www.house.gov/paul: January 28, 2000
[15] Paul: "Statement for Hearing before the House Financial Services
Committee, 'Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy'":
www.house.gov/paul: February 15, 2007
[16] Lawrence M. Vance: "Will Ron Paul Be the Candidate of the Christian Right?":
www.lewrockwell.com: April 26, 2007
[17] Justin Raimondo: "Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul":
www.tikimag.com: January 18, 2008
[18] Paul: "A Republic, If You Can Keep It":
www.house.gov/paul: January 31 &
February 1, 2000
[19] Paul: "In the Name of Patriotism (Who are the Patriots?)": http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/
: May 22, 2007

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