Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why are Ron Paul Detractors so Frightened?

This article was originally posted on September 26th, 2007 at

The other day I was driving past a very busy Intersection in my neck of the woods and I noticed a Ron Paul Revolution sign had gone up. There were a couple more on the toll way that some farmer had put up. These were put there on private property by people that most likely were not paid to do so. That’s the way Ron Paul supporters are. They don’t have to be asked to do something for their candidate. They don’t have to be told to go out and campaign. They simply do what they can, or what they think needs to be done. Most are extremely enthusiastic about Ron Paul, and some would say they are too enthusiastic. Perhaps they are right and in some cases Ron Paul supporters get a little overbearing in their zeal, but that is to be expected. After all, when was the last time we saw an honest politician in this country? When was the last time a politician spoke of adhering to the constitution? Oh sure, they’ve always been there, lurking on the outside of the establishment, staring through the windows of the halls of power at two major parties like bums passing a mansion and longing for just a taste of the good life as the Democrats and Republicans pass laws making it harder and harder for them to ever get elected. This is the first time in a long time a major party candidate has come out with a message of hope and freedom and of smaller, limited, less intrusive government. It is a message that he backs up with his voting record. It is this message that has gotten his supporters so excited. Many of Ron Paul’s supporters might not have supported anyone in this campaign had Ron Paul decided not to run. No other candidate, either Republican or Democrat, espouses the principles Ron Paul supports. All the other candidates support big government programs and proclaim big government is the answer to everything that ails our society. Those of us who realize this is not true and who simply want to be left to decide for ourselves what paths we will take in our lives have found a champion in Ron Paul. His candidacy has given many of us someone to vote for rather than someone to vote against. His candidacy has given many of us something to vote for other than the lesser of two evils.
Yet the enthusiasm and excitement expressed by Ron Paul’s supporters seems to have spawned a community of fellows vehemently opposed to Ron Paul. As I go through posts and read through blogs, it seems to me that many of these people are frightened by something. There’s something about their insistence, their passion about the "evil" of Ron Paul and the seemingly supernatural power of his “few” supporters to be able to hijack opinion polls, phone polls, and dominate Internet blogs, there’s something about the demeanor of these folks that suggests to my mind that they are terrified. There’s something even more disturbing about the way the mass media ignores or portrays him. All this has caused me to wonder, what are these Ron Paul detractors so frightened of? I have spent some time in the blogosphere in an effort to ascertain the answer to this question and to assuage their fear. Of course, I don’t expect to be able to convince everyone that there is nothing to fear from a Ron Paul victory, there are people who no matter how hard you argue, no matter how much reason you apply to the argument, will simply refuse to listen. They will not give up their beliefs. I hope to reach those who are on the fence, who are intrigued by Ron Paul’s ideas but are worried about all the negative rhetoric spewed forth by those afraid of real change.
One of the first things I notice about Ron Paul detractors is how often they call Ron Paul and his supporters names. To be fair, I’ve also seen Ron Paul supporters calling his detractors names, which I also think is wrong. As Ron Paul supporters, we should be able to recognize name calling for the juvenile practice it is and avoid that tactic. I know that’s hard to do when the mud starts flying. I realize that when someone insults you it is a natural tendency to insult them back, but we need to remember that name calling accomplishes nothing and serves only to inflame the emotions of those involved. We should let Ron Paul’s detractors show their true colors with their cutesy, middle school barbs like Paultards and Ronbots. Let them label us “crazy”, “conspiracy theorists” and whatever else they want to label us as. So what? Take a deep breath and let the name calling roll off your shoulders. It is more important to get Ron Paul’s message of personal responsibility and smaller, less intrusive government out there. It is time for us to grow up. It is time for us to reclaim out freedoms, to demand them back, and in the process get our lives back, free from government intervention.
Still, some Ron Paul detractors do talk about the issues. They have addressed their fears and stated why they are against Ron Paul. I’d like to address some of these. One of the big ones is that he’s against abortion. This is true, Ron Paul is against abortion. More specifically, he believes it should not be a constitutional issue and that the individual states should be able to decide abortion laws. He is, after all, an ob/gyn and as such has his own personal opinion on the miracle of life. Still, this is an issue where he and I actually disagree. I see abortion as a decision that should be left to the woman and her doctor and perhaps her family. Government should not be involved. But all this is beside the point. In my opinion, this country has far, far more important issues to worry about. And those who worry about women losing the right to an abortion, fear not. President Bush is also against abortions and he was not able to make them illegal in this country even with a Republican congress and a supreme court leaning his way.
Some detractors have expressed fear that Ron Paul is an isolationist. That is not so. Sure, he wants to bring our troops home from around the world. This is something he would actually have the power to do, should he become president. He wants to end our wars of aggression and bring the troops back home to protect our borders. Isn’t that what the military is for? Do we have to police the world? I don’t believe we should. I say it’s time we stopped trying to dictate to the world how to run their countries and remove the threat of force our military poses. I say it's time we stopped nation building. Just because he wants to bring the soldiers home does not mean he is an isolationist. He would still want to do business with the rest of the world. The difference is, he would not be doing business at the point of a gun, rather we would all be interacting on a voluntary basis. Sure, competition would increase, but fear not. I have faith in the American people. I think we can take on competition and come out ahead. We don’t need to force our will upon others in order to remain on top of the heap. We can lead by example and show the world that free markets are the way to improve the quality of everyone’s life. I believe that left to our own devices our ideas and innovations will help improve the world for all mankind.
I read one detractor claim that Ron Paul is racist. When I see the label “racist” used, I instantly question the author’s motive. When one uses such a name it seems to be an attempt to evoke emotion in the reader and cause one to instantly ostracize the subject on the basis that this person has an opinion that is so onerous as to be socially unacceptable. Now, I don’t know Ron Paul personally, so I can’t say for certain whether he is or isn’t a racist, but I can say that I seriously doubt it. Apparently, the claim that he is a racist came from some sort of newsletter that he sent out where one of his people made an unseemly comment that some interpreted as racist. Ron Paul apologized for the comment and fired the offending staffer. I would bet that just about everyone has said something at some point in time that could be considered racist. This does not make the person racist. As it is, Ron Paul has himself addressed this issue. Some of his thoughts on racism can be found here:
I believe that fear is unfounded.
Some detractors have expressed fear that Ron Paul’s stance on taxes and the Federal Reserve will lead to economic collapse. First off, why should a privately owned organization have a monopoly on our money when the constitution explicitly gives the House of Representatives the power “To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.” Why should our tax dollars go to pay the interest on trillions of dollars in loans when congress can order the creation of treasury notes interest free? Personally, I’m tired of seeing the value of the dollar shrink to nothing and I’d rather have a steady, stable currency that keeps its value as we had for hundreds of years before this fiat banking system took hold around the world. There might be a short period of adjustment in the economy if Ron Paul was able to implement such a change, but sound fiscal policy and the power of free, open markets would soon right the ship. Then there are those who would ask “What about the poor?” when income taxes are done away with. Well, not having to pay taxes will certainly give you more money in your pocket. You could give the extra money you’d have to some worthy charity that helps the poor. Private enterprises taking care of charity can certainly do a better job than any government organization or plan for wealth redistribution. Again, I have faith in the American people. We are, after all, perhaps the most generous nation in the world. You should not fear changing our money system, for sometimes change is for the best and often times it comes whether you plan it or not. It’s best if that change can be controlled rather than suddenly thrust upon us.
I could go on, but I think I’ve covered the basics. Try to remember, we are in the process of selecting a president here, not a dictator or a decider. Ron Paul is the only candidate who is for a smaller government with the voting record to prove it. All the other candidates are for increasing the size of government and government’s power and control over you. Ron Paul is against the war in Iraq, and any war of aggression. He is in favor of bringing our troops home to protect our borders. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against the Military Commissions Act. He does not believe we should engage in entangling alliances. He believes we should maintain our national sovereignty. And, should the citizens of the United States elect him as our next president, we would be sending a clear message to our politicians that we understand what freedom is and what it means and that we want to keep our freedoms and liberties rather than letting them die under the oppressive boots of a police state. We would also be sending a message that we appreciate honesty and openness in government and we will no longer tolerate the corruption that has plagued our government for decades now. Ron Paul should frighten no one, except maybe the establishment which has been feeding at the pig trough of political power for far too long.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Illusive Light of Freedom

This article was originally published at on Sept. 18th, 2007.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
John Lennon
What is freedom? This is a question mankind has asked since we stopped our wandering and strapped ourselves to the land via agriculture. Since the dawn of civilization, man has wistfully longed for removal of the chains of the civilization he built. Even though civilization and the advent of large settlements led to more security for those living in them, there was something about the unfettered wilderness that called to the human spirit. Even back in our earliest days we as a race must have realized what we were giving up in order to conquer nature. And yet we carried on, developing better methods of farming, better housing, better transportation, and on the dark side, better ways of making war. And as technology improved and civilization became more and more complicated, freedom became more and more illusive.
In the modern world, we’ve built cities and countries and economies that have made us prisoners of our own design. We struggle for the almighty dollar so that we may live better lives. We seem to work more despite the advent of “time saving” devices. We seem to have less leisure time than our ancestors did. We don’t take the time to meet face to face with people as much as we used to, preferring instead to email or instant message. We seem to be isolating ourselves, and yet our reach is now worldwide. As we are reaching out more, we are being monitored more, and so we have lost our privacy. I’m not suggesting these things are necessarily bad, there is a lot of good coming of this, but there needs to be a balance. It is a strange and fascinating dichotomy we have created. There is so much control over our lives and yet we call ourselves a free society.
I am not so sure I know what freedom is, for I was born into this society and I only know how to survive within the bounds it sets. I do believe, however, that I know what freedom is not. Freedom is not a free for all bombardment of another country because it “might” be harboring someone with hostile intentions. Freedom does not mean forcing another country to accept a form of government it does not wish to accept. Freedom is not being forced to use a monopolistic currency based on debt. Freedom is not “free” health care that in reality someone else paid for in the form of taxes on their hard earned money. Freedom is not tomes filled with so many laws and regulations so as to fill an entire library. Freedom does not mean allowing big government to control every aspect of your life, to have it burgeon and metastasize into such a cancerous growth that the institution created by our forefathers to protect our freedoms becomes the death of those very freedoms. These things are antithetical to freedom. Freedom should be about the ability to make one’s own choice for one’s own self. That is something I feel less and less able to do.
Freedom is the light humans flock to. It is the longing to make one’s own way in the world. I doubt very much that many people in today’s world want to give up their modern conveniences and go back to a time when we were running through the forests naked, but we would like to be able to conduct our business with others without having to maneuver through the forest of paperwork governments require. We would like to be able to conduct our personal lives without government intrusion into everything from our finances to what we decide to put into our bodies. As a society, have we become so enamored with being told what to do and how to think that we have lost the ability to reason for ourselves? Have we become like the people in Plato’s cave watching shadows cast by firelight play across the wall and believing this to be reality? Perhaps the talking heads we see on television are the shadows dancing across the wall as we sit in our living rooms and believe what they tell us is reality. Perhaps we have grown so comfortable in our cages we can no longer recognize the bars surrounding us. Perhaps we have become apathetic as we muddle through our daily lives to the point where we don’t care when reality intrudes upon our neighbors and their worlds crumble to dust. We become uncomfortable if the illusion is exposed and begins to vaporize before our eyes. We prefer to sit in our easy chairs and watch the dancing shadows rather than peeking out at the bothersome light shining through the cave opening. That light is the light of freedom. Yes, it will hurt our eyes for a moment, but once they become accustomed to it the pain will ease. The time has come to shrink our government down to size, to bring our soldiers home from around the world, to stop trying to maintain an empire, to reclaim our money, our treasures and the fruits of our labors, and to let it be known to those who would try to strip our rights away that we will not let that happen. We can all step out of the cave of socialism we have built. We can join together in liberty. We can show those who would be our leaders that we understand reality, and that we chose the light of freedom. We can vote for Ron Paul and other freedom oriented candidates. It is time to toss out those who support big government, be they Democrat or Republican, and replace them with those who will let us live our lives the way we chose. It is time for us to take back what should never have been taken from us in the first place. It is time to demand that the constitution be adhered to and honored, which is the vow our elected officials take when they swear their oath to hold office. In this way, as each individual takes on personal responsibility for his own life, the light of freedom will brighten and grow, and America will once again become the beacon of hope to the rest of the world that it once was.