Sunday, November 4, 2007

A War of Words: The RedState Decision to Ban Ron Paul Discussion

This article originally appeared in on Oct. 26th, 2007

The RedState blog has decided to ban discussion of Ron Paul to its members that have been on for less than six months. The reasoning is that those who have accounts less than six months old that “shill” for Ron Paul must be philosophically libertarian and not philosophically republican. Now, I don’t have an account with RedState and never would. It is a privately owned blog, so I believe that the owner should be able to make whatever rules he wants, which is the way anyone philosophically libertarian should believe. So why should I concern myself with this issue? Well, perhaps I shouldn’t, but I thought it might be fun to examine exactly what the republican philosophy should be and whether or not it can jibe with the libertarian one. I also thought it might be fun to see if the decision to ban Ron Paul discussions is a fundamentally sound one. After all, Ron Paul appears to be gaining speed and support, so pretty soon the Republicans that don’t like him might have to split off and form their own party.

Let’s start by looking at the libertarian philosophy. The word libertarian comes from the root word liberty. Looking up the word liberty in a dictionary yields quite a few results. Most of these definitions have to do with the concepts of freedom from control and the rights of individuals to engage in certain activities. I don’t think we need to go too deep into these definitions as most people understand liberty. I think the libertarian philosophy is pretty straight forward. In a nutshell, I think the libertarian philosophy can be summed up as the belief in liberty. So, the question is, do Republicans believe in liberty? I should think so. Apparently, however, one Leon H. Wolf and some of his cohorts don’t believe in liberty. Here’s what he posted:

Okay, no big deal, right? Especially for me having nothing to do with RedState. I don’t know, but I guess I just got a thing for expressing my opinion. I know, it’s annoying. People who disagree with me certainly hate to read it and heaven forbid I should say something that makes sense. But let’s move on, shall we. Let’s take a look at the republican philosophy. The root of the word republican is republic. The word republic has many different meanings, as that word is used to describe a variety of different government systems. For instance, the United States of America is a republic, but so is China. The meaning of the word has been obfuscated over time, as many words are wont to do. Well, I’m kind of partial to the type of republic the United States of America set up with its constitution. I would guess that a Republican in this country was one who believed in a constitutional republic where the rights of the individual are protected from the abuse of government power. If this is the case, than the republican philosophy and the libertarian philosophy can coexist quite nicely.

But perhaps this isn’t the case. Perhaps the decision to ban Ron Paul discussions from newcomers on this blog was made because a majority of people wanted such a ban initiated. A system where the majority rules over the minority is called a democracy. Someone who believes in that philosophy might call themselves a democrat. No, I doubt that’s what happened.

I’m fairly certain the decision was made by a few officers of the blog, or even the top dog, and that the reason was stated honestly, that they were annoyed. I can understand annoying. You see, the majority of people I talk to usually don’t like candidates from either the Republican or Democratic parties. They simply don’t like the corruption rampant in both parties. They either hold their noses on election day and vote for the lesser of two evils, or more likely they simply don’t show up to vote at all. I’ve tried to explain to people that if all those who didn’t want to vote for evil were to simply vote for a third party candidate then that candidate would win and the stranglehold of this duopoly would relax a bit. People chuckle at this and talk about wasting votes. How annoying.

They accuse Ron Paul supporters of being liberals instead of true Republicans. Liberal, now there’s a word that hasn’t been overused. I had to look up the definition of liberal. It seems maybe Ron Paul supporters are liberal, according to the dictionary. What I want to know is this, are the people running RedState suggesting that true Republicans can’t be broad minded? Are they suggesting Republicans are against free markets? Are they suggesting Republicans are limited by orthodox, authoritarian dogmas and that they are not free of bigotry? Are they suggesting Republicans are against civil liberties? I’m just using one dictionary’s definitions of the words liberal and liberalism to formulate these questions. Personally, I don’t see how believing philosophically in a constitutional republic excludes these things. It seems to me all these things can coexist together.

There seems to be an honest admission in the reasoning posted by RedState to ban Ron Paul discussion. They do admit, surprisingly, to being fascists. I’m not sure what they mean about someone discovering where they keep black helicopters, but I could care less what color helicopters they own. Looking up the word fascism, I found this definition: “A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.” I find the philosophies being proffered by Republican candidates other than Ron Paul tend to run along some of these lines, particularly the bits about centralization, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of opposition through censorship and belligerent nationalism. In fact, what this blog is doing is a perfect example of censorship. Of course, it’s a privately owned blog so those who own it have every right to censor it as they see fit.

As I stated earlier, I can understand annoying. It must be annoying to have to have to deal with concepts such as liberty and personal responsibility. I can understand where it would be annoying to have to argue against such concepts. It is much more comforting to surround yourself with people who think like you do. God forbid one might be exposed to some new idea. God forbid one might have to deal with someone who doesn’t want the government to take care of every aspect of their lives. It’s better that one believe those who disagree with them are all crazy. It’s better that one try to belittle and minimize those who might challenge their belief system. It’s better that one kick those who question the status quo off one’s little blog so such ideas won’t infiltrate one’s little community.

And of course, these newcomers haven’t earned any respect. You can’t respect someone merely for being human. Humans can’t have valid opinions when they first sign up for a blog such as RedState, at least not about Ron Paul. People coming into such a blog can’t come into it with some sort of preconceived ideas that they’ve developed simply by living in the real world. Oh no, they have to be exposed to the blog’s indoctrination period of six months. They have to show that they can submit to the blog’s propaganda for that period of time so that they can show they have the ability to think like those already on the blog before they can talk about Ron Paul. But, again, it’s RedState’s blog and it’s obviously much more comfortable for those using it to think that everyone believes as they do. God knows one wouldn’t want to engage in any kind of meaningful discussion. They probably just want to engage in a quiet discussion of which big government, war mongering Republican candidate has the best chance of beating Hillary. Well, I guess that’s fine. As a matter of fact, they did point out that there are many blogs where people can go to discuss Ron Paul. I guess if Ron Paul supporters want to get a different point of view and still talk about Ron Paul, RedState is not the place to go.

So, Ron Paul supporters, you might want to stay away from RedState. Don’t tell them that Ron Paul respects the constitution and wants the government to honor it. Don’t tell them that Ron Paul supports solid money based on something other than credit and debt. Don’t point out that he wants to save money by ending the wars and bringing our troops home from around the world. Don’t tell them he supports smaller government. Don’t tell them that he wants to restore the freedoms and liberties that have been infringed upon by laws such as the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. They don’t want to hear it. They don’t care. They’re true Republicans, and such concepts don’t fit into their authoritarian ideals and their dreams of empire.

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