16 November 2012

Goodbye to Congressman Ron Paul

This week Ron Paul gave his final speech on the floor of the House of Representatives (he retires at year's end after a 23-year career.)  A video of his speech is posted at The Atlantic

I admired the man when he spoke out on budgetary and geopolitical matters that others were too timid or too ill-informed at address, but ultimately he encompassed too many fringe positions for me to be happy with the total package.  Recognizing that you can't create a politician by ordering from a menu with some items from column A and some from column B, I will nevertheless list below a selection of questions he raised in his final speech:
  • Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
  • Why can't Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
  • Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
  • Why should there be mandatory sentences--even up to life for crimes without victims--as our drug laws require?
  • Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
  • Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
  • Why haven't we given up on the drug war since it's an obvious failure and violates the people's rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can't even keep drugs out of the prisons?
  • Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
  • Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
  • Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
  • Why can't people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a "kill list," including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there's such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?

And here are some additional quotes from a column at Salon:

Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties."

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty.  This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge.  But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. "

“The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal.  The good results sought never materialize.  The new problems created require even more government force as a solution.  The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.”


  1. All really great questions that we as voters should be asking ourselves in earnest. We the voters are still too lax about taking personal responsibility for how we vote. It's very hard, time consuming work to be a truly informed, involved, invested voter. When you have to work 8 hrs a day 5 days in a row, which I think is at least an hour too long and one day too many, you are too tired to become politically educated and play with your kids, mow the lawn or do the laundry.

    Most of us act like as long as the system doesn't poke us personally directly in the eye, we let it coast. Of course, by the time we do get poked in the eye, all the other people around us who were poked in the eye but we couldn't muster the energy to join them in their fight, now when we need them to help us, they're attitude is too bad so sad, you weren't there for me, now forget you.

    I think that as long as America continues to focus on the privileges of the individual without putting the same emphasis on the privileges, importance and needs of the group. We have stopped valuing being in fact, in reality, united. Not homogenous, but united. --A.

    1. *their attitude...

      *...and needs of the group, we will continue to flounder.

      I hate when I do that. --A.

  2. Even Paul is guilty like anyone else of not caring for everyone's freedom equally. He does not support same sex marriage but punts the question by saying government shouldn't be in the business of marriage anyhow. Too late, government is deeply involved in marriage and the rights and protections that stem from it and that is unlikely to change any time soon. So while you work for getting government out of marriage, at least have the decency to treat others equally under the system we already have.

    He's also opposed to a woman's right to chose (and contraceptive coverage by insurance which covers other medications) which is a pretty fundamental aspect of freedom if you happen to have a uterus.

    1. Well Anon, you could say he's against a "pretty fundamental aspect of freedom", but then you don't understand his position. He understands a fetus to be a human being, instead of a blob of tissue. As such, any other stance would mean he wants to deny freedom to the youngest and most innocent of our citizens.

      Look at it another way:
      "He's also opposed to a person's right to chose [to shoot people who get in their way] which is a pretty fundamental aspect of freedom if you happen to have a [rifle]." (ok, reduction to the ridiculous, I know)

  3. Lately I've become increasingly aware of the absurdity of drugs policies, especially in relation to cannabis. Paul's arguments about it infringing personal freedoms are one very strong side of the argument, especially since almost all countries who ban the drug allow the use of alcohol, which in my opinion is far more socially damaging. Yet if people want to do it that's their choice.
    A second argument is also connected to the economic losses incurred by a war on drugs, as all almost all profits from the sale of them go to criminal organisations, instead of potentially being taken through tax. I have so many friends who smoke weed without a care that it's illegal, it's their own choice and they're not damaging anyone by doing it, except maybe by supplying money to the criminals.
    I recently returned from Italy where a friend of mine is guerilla growing some weed plants (enough to be considered under law as enough for supply, but which are purely for self-use). This is to avoid paying money for weed from the mafia, who they don't want to fund,and to ensure that what they smoke is all natural and untainted or mixed with cheaper substances. By doing this my friend is putting themself at risk of being sent to prison, for essentially growing a plant for self consumption avoiding harm to anyone else. These laws criminalise ordinary citizens; students, shop workers, labourers etc. whilst failing to deal with the true problems at the base of the issue, and they waste money and lives in the process.

  4. So glad to see this guy go. Every one of his statements is so easily countered and often just coded language for poisonous neo-confederate ideology. From his phony feel good drug stance which is just window dressing for "state's rights" to his jabbering about "liberty", his idea of "liberty" is freedom for his own demographic and the freedom for them to terrorize others.

  5. Fringe is a very generous reading. The piece I link below chronicles his regressive and racist positions, many of which are directly contradictory to his publicly Libertarian persona. He's a loathsome man.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...