The Ron Paul Religion

During the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, the candidate with the most devoted core of supporters was undoubtedly Ron Paul.

Yes, Barack Obama was capable of drawing out large crowds to chant his name and various slogans, but the Obama volunteer corps paled in comparison to the unorthodox and often bizarre coteries which traveled the country to propound Ron Paul’s message. Because no one other than Ron Paul himself could be relied on to effectively convey the Ron Paul message, however, this sometimes produced mixed results. Republican Primary voters who might have otherwise been amenable to Paul’s candidacy often expressed annoyance with his supporters’ antics — namely, their habit of making as big of a ruckus as possible during putatively inappropriate moments. I can recall the day before the 2008 New Hampshire primary, when Paul supporters bearing huge homemade posters inundated Anderson Cooper‘s CNN set, forcing their way into the TV frame. I welcomed their agitation, but it was easy to see how others could be irked.

Part of what made the Ron Paul phenomenon so interesting was the wildly disparate strains of supporters who found themselves one the same “team.” Dreadlocked hippies would volunteer side-by-side with home-schooling Evangelicals and weirdo hacker types. Atheist libertarians formed alliances with Evangelical preachers. No two Ron Paul devotees, it seemed, were alike. Everyone from Ralph Nader to Newt Gingrich has, at some point, offered praise (if qualified) for the man.

The strain of supporters most difficult for outside observers to grok were those who regarded Ron Paul not merely as a presidential candidate, but a vessel for advancing collective human consciousness. You read that right. Often, I found, these views were informed by supporters’ use of psychedelic drugs. Because Ron Paul’s campaign structure was so unorthodox — even the campaign itself had zero control over most of what supporters said or did — it was perceived as a sort of self-fulfilling venture, a profound success even notwithstanding the candidate’s electoral fortunes. These proponents of consciousness advancement were invariably weaned on the Internet, and believed Ron Paul’s limitless well of online support bespoke his potential to forever change how society functions. To call this “politics” was to undersell the significance of the enterprise, they insisted.

I encountered several Ron Paul supporters who viewed his rise as an inevitable byproduct of human civilization’s intractable progression toward “The Singularity,” an idea conceived by futurist Ray Kurzweil about an event foretold to occur in 2045, during which technology will reach the point of exceeding human comprehension.

Kurzweil has been roundly criticized for sometimes appearing more like a self-styled prophet than a scientist, and his followers are known to veer perilously close to “New Age”-like spirituality. Ron Paul’s most committed supporters imbued the Congressman with similar attributes.

It might be easy to scoff at these folks, but they were correct in that Ron Paul has indeed advanced human consciousness. When he extolled the virtues of heroin legalization during a Republican primary debate, or mounted a vigorous defense of Wikileaks from the floor of the U.S. House, or expressed support for the Occupy movement, he implanted new, relatively radical ideas into the electorate. Being a plainspoken, humble, kind country doctor gave Paul legitimacy even in the eyes of those who might be hostile to his platform.

While Mitt Romney fades from memory, Ron Paul’s imprint on American politics only continues to grow. He will retire from Congress on January 3rd, having been first elected in 1976.

Ron Paul is a religious man, but always disliked the public pronouncements of faith commonly associated with the modern Republican Party. I interviewed him about the subject in August 2011:

How sharp is the divide on social issues between progressives and Paul’s more conservative supporters? I ask for his opinion on the central role religion has seemingly taken in the Republican presidential contest, something that has distressed progressives and libertarians alike. Texas Governor Rick Perry preceded the announcement of his bid with a massive Evangelical prayer rally in Houston, just miles from Paul’s congressional district.

“It certainly is his judgment call,” Paul says of Perry’s decision to convene a stadium-sized worship event. “There’s nothing that says he should not do it. But whether it’s the wisest thing to do? For me, I would consider it unwise.”

Paul is typically demure about his own belief in Christianity—willing to speak about it when prompted, but never ostentatious. “It might be the way I was raised. We weren’t ever taught to carry religion on our sleeves.” He references New Testament admonitions against going “out on the sidewalk” to “make a grandstand.” “You’re supposed to go quietly into your closet to pray,” Paul says, “and not be demonstrating in any particular way. So I think I have followed that more than others.”

There will be no heir to Ron Paul. He is too unique a figure. In time, I predict, history will look quite favorably on his contributions.

About michaeltracey

Journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow me on Twitter at @mtracey.

  • de

    If you think history will look favorably on that racist old kook, guess again.  He will be viewed in the same way Lyndon Larouche is viewed.

    • Dwimmerlaik81

       Racist and anti-choice! Whatta fucker.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      No fair-minded assessment of Ron Paul during his three presidential runs could conclude that he is in any way a racist.

      • all hail

         Ron Paul religion, indeed. You’ve certainly drunk the kool-aid.

      • scipio1

        “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.” “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” All written in a publication called at various times  Ron Paul’s Political Report, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter.

        No amount of double-speak gobbledy-gook can claim this man is not a racist.  Who are you going to believe, Ron Paul or your lying eyes?

        • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

          Of course, those newsletters were not written by Ron Paul and he has repeatedly denounced the sentiments expressed therein. Find any public statement directly attributable to Ron Paul in which he espouses racist beliefs.

          • de

            Sure he didn’t write them.  He just happened to profit from them and his wife, daughter, and racist mentor Lew Rockwell were listed as writers.

            • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

              Lew Rockwell wasn’t Ron Paul’s “mentor,” he worked for Ron Paul.

              • scipio1

                So either Paul is a racist or the worst manager in history.  Faint praise either way.

          • The Captain

            Ahh, actually in 1996 when he was questioned by the Dallas Morning Star about those very comments scipio1 quotes he admits to writing them.

            1996 Dallas Morning News Interview With Ron Paul

            • The Captain
            • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

              Your presentation of selective information is tiresome. Video is readily available in which he clearly discusses the issue in both 2008 and 2011-12.

              • The Captain

                Who is selecting their info here?  Check the link below where he talks about writing them, and then ask yourself why you would dismiss him saying he did write it in 1996, but believe him when he said he didn’t in 2011 (but has not idea who did under his name) after getting a bunch of political flack?

                http://www.criticalreactor.com/ronpaul/newsletters/1996_Dallas_Morning_News.html

              • Duke OfOmnium

                You mean he cynically disavowed statements he’d earlier confirmed writing?  You make him sound like some  opportunistic, mendacious wing-nut!

              • de

                Here is a vid from 1995 where he admits he was active with the newsletter:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniuwIDNkI

              • http://twitter.com/Skepacabra Skepacabra

                Wow! Now you’re even defending Ron Paul against Ron Paul. So even Ron Paul is lying in order to slander Ron Paul? Is that your real argument? 

          • smrnda

             Any person who wants to be taken seriously as a person of great ideas who employs a ghostwriter is not deserving of a shred of respect. I can’t a person seriously who employs others to write under his name who, at the same time, renounces people who appropriate the products of other people’s work.

      • Daniel_JM

        Do you think the documents uncovered by Anonymous were fake? The ones that showed that Paul has regularly and recently met with the leaders of the White Supremacist group American Third Position, and even had conference calls with their board?

        Even if you think those are fake, you still have to deal with the fact that he admitted to Ed Crane that he got the most response for his newsletters by targeting readers of an anti-Semitic newspaper, that he uses the racist term “anchor babies”, that he has refused to return the donations from a bundler of his who is a neo-Nazi, and that he claimed to write those racist newsletters for years, until he suddenly changed his mind on the issue and now supposedly has no idea who wrote the newsletters that were approved by him and sent out of his own office in his own name for over a decade ( and when people who worked in his office said they know he personally approved the content of those newsletters). Paul sure has some convenient amnesia when he can’t even remember who wrote his newsletters.

        Paul may very well not be a racist, but just enjoys the support of anti-Semites and white supremacists and has no problem using racist language and having racist things written in his name to appeal to them. That certainly doesn’t make me respect him, but I can hardly see how any fair-minded person could agree with you that there is no way to reasonable question if Paul is racist or not. (please ignore any weird formatting or spelling errors, my iPad is not working well with Disqus).

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        “No fair-minded of during could conclude that they are in any way .”

        Evidently, anyone who says things you disagree with about Ron Paul is simply being unfair.

      • Donalbain

         Just because he opposes civil rights and put his name to horrifically racist newsletters, doesnt mean he is racist. Just that he wants the support of racists, which is MUCH better.

  • good_creon

    I feel it’s a stretch to call someone a “kind” doctor when, being asked about people without medical insurance and if “society should them die” he responds with a triumphant “Yeah!”  That is not kind at all.  That is lack of empathy. 

    • HannibalBarca

      Got a citation for when he said that?

      • scipio1

        He actually said the “churches” should take care of these folks.  Not exactly realistic or kind.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIOCTUX55ZX6IP6OYWJGP4IAYI Ruth

          Right.  I am sure that a church will take care of my mentally ill brother for his entire life.    

          • Baby_Raptor

            They might if he converts and they can use him as money bait.

      • The Captain

        The republican presidential debate.

        • HannibalBarca

          When? Where?

          • Artor

            It was his audience that said it, but he stood by the statement without refutation. He also demonstrated by example, letting his former campaign manager die in medical debt, bankrupting his family.

            • The Captain

              Thanks for correcting me, it was the audience.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      Note how detractors in the comments have yet to respond to any of the specific points raised in the piece, preferring to bring in their own highly tangential information.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin
      • ortcutt

         It seems like you were schooled pretty badly about the We the People Act above, so bragging about your detractors not responding to you probably wasn’t the wisest decision. 

      • Artor

        That’s because this was a puff piece. It talks about Paul’s good points, and mentions some controversies, but doesn’t go into the really horrible parts of the thing that is Ron Paul. Those were mentioned in the comments, and you got your ass handed to you when you whined about them. Say something useful, or quit while your only a little way behind.

      • The Captain

        I and several others have specifically responded to many of the points you make in your piece (his views on heroin legalization, the role of religion in government for instance) and you have respond by either ignoring the point, or just crying not valid. However you also leave many other crucial points out. Points that directly speak to your claim that “history will look quite favorably on” him. A claim so sweeping that it can not be made on the points you raised alone. Thus the points made by Daniel_JM and scipio1 along with others are just as valid to make toward your claim as are the ones you raise. When making the judgement of the historical view of a figure, to claim the points of others are “tangential” while your few are the only valid is a level of arrogance towards your readers I have not seen in quite some time and one I have really never seen on this blog before.

        I did leave aside the subject of his supporters antics you mentioned in the article. Where you played admiration for the crashing of CNN’s set you left out the cheering for the death of an uninsured person during the debates. Yet it is you have accused me of presenting “selective information” where I and others here have shown specifics of what the man actually advocates and brought new information and facts in, It has been you that has selectively left many of Paul’s beliefs, words, laws advanced, and actions out in order to paint a picture of a man  you say “history will look quite favorably on”. 

      • http://twitter.com/Skepacabra Skepacabra

        See: all the responses to your comments that refuted your empty defenses with clear, concise, and undeniable facts such as what is in his We The People Act. 

        Funny how YOU have yet to respond to any of those specific counterpoints raised in the comments section, preferring to bring in nothing in response other than your own substance-free defenses of a horrible human being who’s positions are indefensible. 

        • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

          What does the “We The People Act” have to do with anything I wrote in the original post? I would be happy to discuss the merits of that act specifically, but it’s changing the subject.

          • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

            You say that “Ron Paul is a religious man, but always disliked the public
            pronouncements of faith commonly associated with the modern Republican
            Party”

            The “We the People Act,” specifically allows the state to adopt a religion.  It allows the state to discriminate based on religion.   It prevents the federal government from preventing the states from forcing religion on people. 

          • The Captain

            Actually you where more than willing to discuss it with me until it proved your point wrong. Now you act like it was never even mentioned.

          • The Captain

            I just had to do a double take on this comment here. At this point how can you even honestly say this???? 

            You are really showing either a dismissive arrogance towards those you have engaged in conversation, or you are just following a religious like defense that involves ignoring information you do not like, coupled with calling “changing the subject” whenever something is brought up you do not like. Frankly I think it’s a bit of both. 

            “What does the “We The People Act” have to do with anything I wrote in the original post?” it directly speaks to your claim in your post about Paul’s views on religion and government. You should know that by now since it has been pointed out to you multiple times here and you have even respond to some of those post. Now granted, your responses where pretty much of the “no it isn’t” verity, but even after further explanations of what you refuse to believe you still act as if nothing on the subject was ever said. 

            What even is your point in talking in the comments here? You have shown no desire to debate the points of your article in even the slightest yet you will throw one off comments out in defense of it. Is it your purpose just to push positive PR for Paul? Are you so insecure or arrogant that criticism of your points are not considered valid by you by default? If so, perhaps you should stay out of the comment section then. 

            You accused me (in a most dismissive and arrogant way) of presenting “selective information” yet it has been you that has been ignoring anything that does not support your position and acting as if it never happened all the while claiming victory. You have acted like a religious fanatic in every debate about their savior I have ever had. Pathetic.

            Frankly you have been the most intellectually dishonest contributor this site has ever had.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

      To be fair, he didn’t say that, he was trying to push the idea of personal responsibility.

      When asked if he would let someone die,  the crowd yelled “Yeah”.  He himself said “The churches took care of ‘em.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yva0VSN1_T4

      • good_creon

        After rewatching the video, you’re right that it was the crowd that said that.  But I still say it’s hard to consider him kind, even if there is some kind of logic to what he was saying. His brand of libertarianism is very much “Look out for number 1″

        • de

          He actually let his campaign manager die because he couldn’t afford health insurance.  He ran up $400,000 in medical expense all of which was passed onto his mother.  Dr. Paul didn’t lift a finger to help.  Fuck that society. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

          Agreed, I find libertarianism  scary. What they call freedom boils down to “I’ll do whatever I want and fuck you”.

          I often think that these people should be made to live for a month without any government assistance, no government utilities, nothing built by or provided by the government so maybe they’d realise just how much they rely on the government.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Buster-Adams/100003667627781 Buster Adams

            I don’t “rely on the government” because I’m one of the ones pushing the cart. Therefore, any services I take advantage of are indeed paid for by my taxes. I do not take public assistance even though I am eligible for it.

            • amycas

               You do realize that most people who are on government assistance are also “pushing the carts” right? They are also paying taxes into the system. There is nothing wrong with using the system to help you–that’s why it’s there.

            • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

              This is such nonsense.

              Everyone benefits from the system. Do you drive your car on roads maintained by a well funded government? The roads are policed and kept safe by people educated by the government.

              You can own property and, for the most part, rely on it being protected because that’s all part of the system.

              You rely on the government. It’s so annoying hearing people claim they don’t.

              Your phrase really reads:
              “I don’t rely on the government. I take it for granted.”

          • Donalbain

             Its important to remember that Ron Paul is not a libertarian. He is a states’ righter. They are very very different things.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        “The churches took care of ‘em” is the ultimate Libertarian cop-out on health care.

        It’s a classic SEP-Field (somebody else’s problem field). They don’t have a good answer. If you don’t have the money to pay for it, you’re fucked unless someone charitably pays for you. That’s the Libertarian health care plan.

    • Xena

      In my experience doctors are kinder than lawyers. In my cohort the top students went into medicine. I thought that atheists put intellect on a pedestal. So called humanist are ssoooo kind especially at the expense of other people’s pockets and efforts. Shouldn’t those who call themselves humanist be the first to set examples by opening their wallets? Why is it that even volunteers to organizations like Doctors without Borders are mainly religious people. Start opening your pocket before you critize others. There are many people who would like to have more children than they can afford at your expense so they will populate the earth. So called humanists make me shudder.

      • Carmelita Spats

        Not all humanists munch on Kumbaya pie… I’m an odd duck humanist…I’m a huge advocate for abortion not as a choice but as a personal responsibility to society…I believe in the decency of a preemptive prophylactic: a personal eugenics at all trimesters. No one has to open their pockets…an abortion costs $450.00 and organizations like the Texas Equal Access Fund will pay for the abortion through their charitable donations. If you cross the border into Mexico, abortions are completely free at public hospitals. You demand a “legrado” and no questions are asked. The U.S. taxpayers will thank you.

        • Artor

          Can we push to make those retroactive for some people like Xena?

          • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

            Low and lame.

      • ortcutt

        “In my experience doctors are kinder than lawyers. In my cohort the top students went into medicine…. Why is it that even volunteers to organizations like Doctors without Borders are mainly religious people.”
        Any more baseless, sweeping generalizations?  

      • Octoberfurst

         As someone who considers himself a humanist I find your accusations totally baseless and insulting. For your information I gladly open my wallet to help others. I know you conservatives —and I am assuming you are a conservative from what you have said—think that we liberals love to spend “other people’s money” but are stingy when it comes to actually putting our money where our mouths are but that just shows how clueless you are.  And where is your evidence that most of the volunteers for Doctors Without Borders are religious?  Oh—you don’t have any? I’m shocked.

      • Artor

        You realize that atheists are still a minority, right? There’s plenty of atheists who volunteer & donate all the time, but any organization not explicitly atheist is still going to be mostly religious. We are opening our pockets and walking our talk.
        I’m not rich, but I volunteer for a non-profit that makes tens of thousands of dollars at festivals, and gives everything over operating expenses to local food banks. What exactly do you do personally to help people? Give a few bucks to your church? I’m not impressed-most of that will go to support the church, not actually help people.

      • RowanVT

         I’m a humanist.
        I’m an atheist.
        I’m not wealthy.

        Every week I buy a large number of baguettes for the homeless people near my work. It’s not much, but it’s *something* and they all appreciate the food.

        Oh dear, I appear to not fit in to your silly stereotyping.

      • http://profiles.google.com/conticreative Marco Conti

        What is your source for humanists stinginess? I certainly don;t have much money to spare, but I make it a point to donate what I can anytime I have some extra dough. Usually not more than $700 to $800 a year but still more than I could reasonably afford.

        Plus, every year I take on no less than 3 pro bono project for worthy non profits. A couple of years ago I even donated my time to a church organization, since they seemed less rabid than their peers ad what they did was actually useful. Each project is worth from  $2 to $3K or more. And donating time is not tax deductible either.

        DWB is a secular organization. I presume some of their volunteers are religious and some aren’t. 
        you are very misinformed and before trolling a  site like this one, it would do you good to interact with the people here on a more honest level.  You may even learn that some of your prejudices are wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        “Why is it that even volunteers to organizations like Doctors without Borders are mainly religious people.”

        Well that’s an easy one. Because the country is made of up “mainly religious people”. Simple numbers there.

        “Start opening your pocket before you critize others.”

        Perhaps you should do more research before criticizing others?

    • guest

      It’s wiser to seek out actual facts.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rv0Z5SNrF4

  • https://agoldstardad.wordpress.com/ Fozzy

    When Ron Paul dies what I leave on his grave will never pass for flowers

    • Thor

      Sounds like what atheists would do.

      • https://agoldstardad.wordpress.com/ Fozzy

        Any other non traitorous American would race me to the grave.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Yeah, Christianists prefer to just ensure that people die. Atheists refuse to show a corpse respect it doesn’t deserve.

        Oh, wait. We’re the bad ones here?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasontorpy Jason Torpy

    Um, what? No heir? Have you not seen Rand Paul 2016? Most devoted core supporters? I’d like to see some scientific analysis on how someone not even on the ticket can have the most supporters? And how did this get on friendlyatheists anyway? Off topic.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      Ron and Rand Paul are not the same men.

      • ha2

         Nope. But… heirs never are exactly the same. A son with similar views, in a similar political positions… yeah, heir.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        Yes, and Kim Il-sung  and Kim Jong-il were not the same men.  The crazy acorn doesn’t fall far from the crazy tree.

  • Andrewwoodr

    Libertarianism is just as bunk as any religion. Takes a ton of faith to believe that once you remove the “evil” government the world will just magically right itself.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      I’m not a libertarian, but that’s certainly an extreme caricature of libertarianism.

    • HannibalBarca

      Libertarianism doesn’t say the government should be removed. That’s anarchism. Don’t conflate the two; they are not the same.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        It is an extreme caricature. But Libertarianism does push the free market and claim that it would regulate itself.

        This is complete bullshit. Well, I guess it’s not all bullshit. The market would regulate itself for maximum profit and minimum liability.

    • Donalbain

       Ron Paul is not a libertarian. That can never be said too often. He has no problem at all with the government putting people in prison for being gay, just so long as it is the arbitrarily “correct” level of government that does it.

  • The Captain

    I doubt history will be kind to Ron Paul. Even when he’s right on an issue, he is so from an accident of appalling reasoning and morals. Sure he opposes war with Iran, and was against the Iraq war, but he would also not lift one US finger to stop a genocide. Sure he would end the war on drugs and legalize most drugs, but he would also not spend one dime to help junkies from dying on the street. Yes he’s a doctor, but he also would allow for people to die without medical care if a market prices them out. 

    And while he says he keeps his religion to himself, he would in fact use the government to force his religious beliefs on others as he has said in that case of abortion. If you noticed he called what Rick Perry did “unwise”, but not “unconstitutional”. Paul rejects the notion of separation of church and state and views the states as having the right to force religious preferences and requirements on individuals. As long as it’s done from the State level, Paul has no problem with the banning of Atheist, or Muslims, or any group from office for instance. He even introduced legislation to prevent people from taking cases to the federal courts if a state violated their religious freedom or attempeted to establish a religion. 

    Sure he has been an advocate for privacy rights, but only privacy from the federal government. If your cell phone company for instance wanted to listen in on your calls, that’s fine by Paul, as long as a Fed wasn’t involved. 

    His views on race are well known and just as appalling (there is no way to separate Paul’s views from those published in his newsletters without making him to be the most incompetent manager ever). And he supports the rights of business to discriminate for any reason, race, religion, sex, whatever.  

    No, history will not be kind to Paul. He will be viewed as an dinosaur that brought back to life the political philosophy of the robber barons and social darwinist and helped poison our politics and society a bit with them.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      “As long as it’s done from the State level, Paul has no problem with the
      banning of Atheist, or Muslims, or any group from office for instance.”

      This is nonsense. Provide a citation or withdraw the allegation.

      • The Captain

        It’s right there in the “We The People” act he introduced. Look it up.  It specifically bans the federal courts from hearing cases on the establishment of religion by states. Thus a state could establish a religion, and all qualifications that go with that, and as long as a state court upheld it there would be no recourse for the individual. So if a state changed it’s constitution (or passed a law) that said atheist could not hold office, as long as the law was upheld in the sate court, the federal constitution banning such things would not apply according to Paul.

        • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

          Extrapolating from this that Ron Paul “has no problem with the banning of Atheist, or Muslims, or any group from office” is just absurd histrionics.

          • The Captain

            You’re linguistically splitting hairs now. 

            I assure you there is nothing “histrionic” when it comes to the law. If it is not specifically prohibited it will happen in some case somewhere. There is also nothing “absurd” about this either, since history shows us numerous examples of this happening in the even recent past.

            As the law is written (and it has many more problems than just what we are discussing) it specifically allows for sates to do this kind of discrimination. Do you argue that it does not? So are you actually arguing that Ron Paul advances laws that he thinks would allow things that he has a problem with happening? This is the same argument he makes when it comes to his opposition to anti-discrimination laws. Sure he says it’s “absurd” to think he would discriminate, but he also will raise no finger to stop those that do. In fact he will advance laws to allow, and fight for the rights of people to discriminate. It’s the fundamental cop out of libertarianism, the “not my business” defense. Well he may think it’s not his business if atheist (or any group) can be openly discriminated against, but when he advocates laws to allow others to do it, the claim he has a problem with such things happening sounds a bit daft at best.

          • Daniel_JM

            Please leave the quote-mining to creationists Michael. 

            The commenter you are responding to specifically said “at the state level” Paul doesn’t have a problem with discrimination against atheists, which is absolutely true. Ron Paul wants to change the law so that it is up to the state whether they want to ban a religion or take away any of our other rights, and in fact he proposed a specific law to make it so that the Federal government would be neutered from protecting religious rights. Not only is Paul fine with the states having the right to discriminate against atheists, he actively tried to make it allowable.

        • http://twitter.com/Skepacabra Skepacabra

          Michael seems to display all the hallmarks of a Ron Paul devotee and simply cannot abide even the most mild of criticisms about his beloved Ron Paul. And no amount of undeniable facts is likely to change his mind. 

      • Daniel_JM

        You serious didn’t know about Paul’s We the People Act, or his view on what levels of government must abide by the Bill of Rights? I honestly think a President Paul would be worse than a President Santorum, for precisely those reasons.

        Paul’s interpretation of the Constituion is extremely dangerous, since he thinks the Constitution only limits the Federal government’s abilit to trample our rights, not the state’s. It’s hard to take his talk of liberty and freedom seriously when in his view the government at the state and local level is mostly free to tear up the Bill of Rights, and the Federal government shouldn’t be able to stop them. Paul is much more a neo-Confederate than a classical libertarian. He is for limiting the power of the Federal government, even if that makes people who live in states that are more oppressive less free.

        • Gus Snarp

          This seems self evident to me. Paul’s version of Libertarian isn’t about limiting government and creating more personal freedom, it’s about coming down on the side of states in questions involving federal and individual rights.

          It’s really important to recognize that the Constitution spells out three entities with rights and powers: individual, state, and nation. Any Constitutional question comes down to a balancing act between these three entities, not between any two. Picture three points making a triangle, and as you move the points around the shape of the triangle changes, instead of two points changing the length of a line. From what I’ve seen of Paul’s ideas, he supports the State at the expense of both of the other two entities. That’s kind of unusual for a real Libertarian, but not for a States’ Rightist, which is what he really is.

    • C Peterson

      It was apparent to me as soon as Paul made clear that he would allow states to ban abortions that he is not a Libertarian. I see him as just another fraud, riding the coattails of a marginally popular movement (which I expect will go nowhere, since, in Tea Party fashion, it has marginalized itself by adopting the most extreme of Libertarian views, and even in America the electorate is smart enough to see the harm of it all).

      • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

        Many Americans who call themselves libertarian are really the “an unregulated, unrestrained free market can solve every problem that exists in the world today” type, and they have hijacked the term for their own ideology.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

          Is this the “not a true Scotsman” bit?

          • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

            Not at all. I am not the only long time libertarian who thinks American libertarians are just a more right-wing version of Republicans. In fact, this post is making that very point. 

          • C Peterson

            No. There really are people who aren’t true Scotsman, and there really are people who aren’t libertarians.

    • RC

      Better to appear the fool and keep ones mouth shut than to
      open ones mouth and remove all doubt!

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        LOL

        Speak for yourself.

    • smrnda

       I think Ron Paul is mostly a rigid black/white thinker. He’s incapable of thinking beyond “federal government = bad” and cares absolutely nothing about a number of issues that any sensible person should consider important – sexism, racism, inequality, foreign relations. The Ron Paul mentality is unable to recognize any form of coercive power unless it comes from the federal government. I mean, the guy thinks sexual harassment legislation is an assault on freedom (Freedom Under Seige.) He’s just an old white guy with the typical old white guy opinions.

  • houndies

    I was a Ron Paul fan at first, but after reading his views on abortion, our founding fathers, and just the fact that he is an open christian, I had to abandon my original views. Electing someone like Ron Paul, though he is not a radical fundie and seems to have some decent ideas for the econ and so forth, would still give a foothold to the religious right, and this is something that we really need to move past. This is why I’m glad Romney didnt get elected. We dont need the religious nutters in the country to have anymore power than they already have, and even if they had very little, it would still be too much.

  • Ian Reide

    I will admit to having had the occasional pro-Paul thought, and then reading something really dumb that he said or did. What I admire about US politics is that it is varied, you get people like RP in public life. Australia in comparison eschews extremes (with the very odd, right wing exception. Anyone remember Pauline Hanson?). Extreme folks yes, but at least these viewpoints are aired and can be thus debated.

  • all hail

    What relevance does this post have to this blog anyway?

    • One Man Damned

       That’s what I was wondering.

  • dantresomi

    wow this is such a love piece on Ron Paul… 

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I am just skeptical of libertarianism in general as it assumes things about humans that are just not true. Take for example the position on regulation of pollution from companies. The libertarian view, as i understand it, is that the free market will regulate the pollution and that companies wouldn’t pollute an area as the people that own the company have to live somewhere as well. It is a naive view. I agree with libertarians on many issues, but I think the complete faith in states rights is misguided at best. 

    My biggest problem with Ron Paul is that he thinks it is ok for states to pass unconstitutional laws as long as they are decided at the state level. Paul has been a critic of the Lawrence v. Texas decision. 

    • de

      Libertarianism is like communism.  Both are utopian, one can look at the Soviet Union, North Korea, Somalia, etc to see why neither is good.

  • ha2

    This still seems to be overdramatizing Paul. Will ‘history’ even remember him at all? He was a congresscritter from somewhere who had a few failed bids at the presidency. There’ve been loads of those over the years. Presidents are remembered by history; I know about presidents from before I was born. I don’t think I could name more than one or two failed presidential candidates from before I was born.

    If he had his name on a major piece of legislation, or on something, then history would remember him.

    But for having passionate supporters? Every politician ever has some of those. For saying things? Every politician says things. There’s plenty of radical politicians out there saying all sorts of various things. It doesn’t really leave a mark unless it is translated into legislation.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      There are some standout members of Congress whom history remembers.

      • de

        They have usually passed a bill or something.  Paul has been in office since 1976, yet has passed no bill of his own.

        • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey
          • de

            It passed the House.  It never made it to the president’s desk let alone become a law.

            • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

              “Paul has been in office since 1976, yet has passed no bill of his own.”

              What does it mean to “pass a bill”? Did the bill in question pass the House of Representatives?

              • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

                Hehe. Arguing the technicalities now eh?

                I hope after the mild backlack from your post, you have learned something new about Ron Paul.

                The viewpoint that he is awesome is believed by some but definitely a minority and they tend to overlook many of his obvious faults.

          • ortcutt

            It’s pretty embarrassing when the link you post to prove your point actually contradicts you.

            It turns out that you are right though.  Wikipedia has the 411.

            “Of the 620 bills that Paul had sponsored through December 2011, over a period of more than 22 years in Congress, only one had been signed into law – a lifetime success rate of less than 0.3%. The sole measure authored by Paul that was ultimately enacted allowed for a federal customhouse to be sold to a local historic preservation society (H.R. 2121 in 2009).”

            I’m sure that his landmark federal customhouse legislation will be remembered for centuries to come alongside Post Office namings and non-binding commemorative resolutions.

          • Artor

            LOL! “You have your facts wrong.” coming from you? Hehe…

    • Duke OfOmnium

      I agree.  The Pat Paulsen of our time … except that Paulsen didn’t have sycophants

    • Artor

      Does anyone remember Ross Perot? He was the Ron Paul of the 90′s. He made a big splash, & hasn’t crossed my radar in a decade.

  • hahacomm

    The Singularity = The Rapture for nerds

  • Daniel_JM

    Do you think that the documents uncovered by Anonymous are fake? The ones that showed that Ron Paul recently and repeatedly meet with the leaders of the White Supremacist group American Third Position and even had conference calls with their board of directors?

    I don’t know any fair-minded person could look at Paul’s associations with known racists, his use of the term ‘anchor babies’, the fact that he told Ed Crane that he got the best response to his newsletters by targeting people who subscribed to an anti-Semitic newsletter, or the fact that he claimed he did write those newsletters for years until he did a 180 on the issue and say with certainty that he isn’t a racist. Maybe Paul isn’t a racist, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with them supporting him, and he doesn’t mind specifically reaching out to groups and using language to appeal to groups who are anti-Semitic and racist.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      I could reply to this in full, but your comment doesn’t address any of the points raised in the post.

      • Daniel_JM

        I was replying to your comment that no reasonable person could think Paul was in any way racist. I’m moving it up to that thread.

  • stu

    I have never met any Libertarian or Ron Paul supporter that believed this, or at least didn’t say they did. What evidence do they sight? The Ron Paul supporters I do know are generally rational humans, with deep interests in personal freedom and limited government with strong arguments and evidence to back their claims. How did this twisted version of an almighty leader start? 

    • de

      What evidence?  Alex Jones, Stormfront, David Icke?

  • DougI

    I never understood the fascination for a guy who advocates big government and economic policies that would destroy the economy.  Then again, people cheered on Pinochet too.

  • ortcutt

    “It might be easy to scoff at these folks, but they were correct in that Ron Paul has indeed advanced human consciousness.”  Oh my FSM, you have got to be kidding. 

    I mean more seriously folks, michaelt is by far the worst of the Friendly Atheist contributors.  This is even worse than “A New Cause for Secularists: Protecting Religious Liberty”.  I don’t come here to read Paultard propanganda.

    • http://twitter.com/mtracey Michael Tracey

      Ah, name-calling, the last refuge of the hostile internet commenter.

      • ortcutt

        It’s not name-calling to point out based on the abundant evidence that you’re an rubbish “journalist”.  That’s just facts.  Maybe a different profession would be a better choice for you.  I’m hoping Hemant reads the comments so he’ll get someone decent to replace you.

      • The Captain

        And your dismissiveness  on Twitter of the idea your own readers could have an opinion that doesn’t follow yours and dare to say so in comments of one of your articles doesn’t really raise you to a higher standard either.

  • advancedatheist

    I won’t miss Ron Paul. He made a nonsensical issue about auditing the Federal Reserve System, when it gets audited regularly any way, and by independent accounting firms and government agencies like Deloitte and the General Accountability Office. Anyone could find a page like the following with a 5 minute google search:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/annual-report/2011-federal-reserve-system-audits.htm

    Paul pretended that he couldn’t find what anyone can find in plain sight, and he used this phony issue for grandstanding. Apparently he couldn’t come up with real, useful problems to address with his authority as a U.S. Congressman. Good riddance.

  • Spandy

    The problem with Ron Paul is that, while he’s a relatively open and honest politician, his economic ideas are batshit insane. I worry that many people are blinded by the fact that he doesn’t give off an aura of political scumminess, and thus don’t actually pay attention to his political ideas, which are for the most part, radical and extreme.

  • C Peterson

    I think it is dangerous to refer to non-theistic philosophies as “religions”. But certainly, we can draw comparisons. Like religionists, the followers of Ron Paul lapped madly at the Kool-Aid trough. They demonstrated an even greater lack of knowledge about U.S. history than most Republicans, and totally rejected objectivity and evidence-based thinking in favor of blind dogma.

    Nuts, yes, but that doesn’t make it a religion. It might qualify as a kind of cult, though.

  • Keulan

    Ron Paul is just batshit insane. If you look at some of the legislation he’s sponsored, you might not think so highly of him. His We the People Act is bad enough, but there’s also his repeated efforts to get the U.S. to leave the U.N., his moronic efforts with regard to the Federal Reserve and gold and silver, his proposed anti-choice legislation, his anti-gay Marriage Protection Act, and many others listed in that link.

    That plus the racism makes me think that Ron Paul is a terrible person who hopefully will not be remembered favorably by history.

  • amycas

     “During the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, the candidate with the most devoted core of supporters was undoubtedly Ron Paul.”

    This is obviously not true. I ran for president in both elections. My core supporters* were undoubtedly ten times more supportive than any of the Paulites. They may have had the numbers, but my core supporters had the devotion**!

    *my mother and one sister

    **because it’s obvious that we decide elections, and who had the most impact, based on the unquantifiable devotion of the supporters, and not the number of supporters. Therefore, I should be president!

  • Michael Stone

    FAIL

    This post is offensive and ignorant. It fails on many levels. It fails to acknowledge the fact that Paul was and is a racist,  a homophobe, a misogynist and a Bible thumping douche bag.
    History will not be kind to Ron Paul. And I expect better from this blog. Reading this ridiculous and sophomoric love letter makes me sick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

      I think the primary fail of the post was really expecting a large number of atheists and skeptics to overlook Ron Paul’s obvious flaws.

      Surely the author knew people would respond in a fairly anti-Paul way? Hoping he was not as blind as Faux News was during election night?

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Ron Paul is a theocrat at heart.  The only difference between him and the rest of the american theocrats is that he wants all of the power to rest in the state and not the federal government.   He’s more than happy to have gays arrested as long as that decision is made by the state.

    He economic and environmental policies as assbackwards.  Gold standard?  He was on the Colbert show and he said we should get rid of the USDA, EPA, Department of Commerce, and nearly every other federal office.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/wsadcock William Samuel Adcock

    I gotta agree with some of the above comments. I’m not really worried that Ron Paul himself would be discriminatory, though the writing in his news letters gives me pause.

    However, I live in Mississippi, where it’s state law that an atheist can’t hold office. Just because Dr. Paul doesn’t personally believe in it doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s perfectly willing to give the state the right to discriminate against people any way it wants.

    Tyranny is tyranny, whether derived from the Federal government, or the State.

  • Gus Snarp

    History will look on Ron Paul as another nut job follower of a utopian political religion.

  • SeekerLancer

    Ron Paul’s politics never made any sense to me. He was all about government staying out of people’s business unless it was to uphold his Christian morals, then government could get involved all they want.

    In short, he was all for government intervention when it was in places where government has no business being. In the end he’s like any other politician, interpreting the constitution as he sees fit and the pedestal that people place him on is baffling.

  • One Man Damned

    I fail to see a reason for this article to be featured on this site.  Luckily, the majority of the comments here have done a nice job of calling b.s. on it, but I am still trying to figure out why it was published on this blog in the first place. 

    It appears that the average commenter here has more business writing for Friendly Atheist than does the author.

  • Gus Snarp

    Time to start exercising some editorial judgment, Hemant.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I always do. Michael is entitled to his opinions. If anything is factually wrong, please let me know.

      • Gus Snarp

        There are more factors to editorial judgment than facts and opinions. There’s also quality, which is lacking here.

        In addition, there’s the fact that there are precious few facts to actually check, this piece is almost pure conjecture. The one set of facts that’s really in question is the bit about Ron Paul supporters and the Singularity/Human Consciousness. That also seems to be the core of the piece, but it is substantiated purely by “I encountered a few…”. This raises the question of whether this is purely a speculative, opinion based blog entry, or original journalism. This point should be supported with numbers, names, or at the very least, quotes from the supposed Ron Paul Singularity cult. How many of these people are out there? Are they representative? What exactly are they saying? I cannot possibly say if he is factually incorrect on these points, only that they are unsubstantiated.

      • Gus Snarp

        Furthermore, I’ve noticed that almost every other contributor has an extensive bio here, while Michael’s is almost non-existent, as is everything about him on other links I’ve followed. I’m not suggesting that only experts can discuss certain topics, but if I’m reading something that seems like original journalism, but of which I cannot ascertain the quality and which could be pure conjecture based on a couple of drunk Ron Paul supporters in a bar (not saying it is, but I have no way of knowing), then I would like to know the background of the author and why I should believe him. Otherwise, I’ll continue to assume that anything with Michael’s byline will have the same low quality I’ve seen in his posts so far and begin to ignore them.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

          I’ll check up on the longer bio as soon as I can. That’s my mistake if it’s not on the Contributor page.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Just in case people still think that Ron Paul is a hero of personal freedom, he is a direct quote about Texas V Lawrence: 

    “Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment ‘right to privacy.’ Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights—rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.”

    So the in Ron Paul’s imagination the tenth amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” applies only to the states and not to the people.  He has no problem with an authoritarian government, as long as it is the state government and not the federal government. 

  • Callmewilliam

    Kurzweil  may have popularized the singularity, but thinking-up credit goes to Vinge.

  • Michelle

    I have so much respect for that man! Our nation was blessed to have him for so many years.

  • Michelle

    A longtime supporter of libertarian ideas, Paul in 2001 proposed
    legislation to alter then-President George W. Bush’s federal faith-based
    initiative, which expanded government partnerships with faith-based
    groups for the delivery of social services, by instead offering a tax
    credit that would encourage individuals and businesses to donate to
    religious groups providing such services. Paul contended that
    faith-based groups provide superior social services but warned that
    “[c]hurches should not become entangled with government subsidies and
    programs.” Paul also introduced legislation
    to remove religious freedom-related legal cases from federal court
    jurisdiction because he viewed such cases as examples of government
    interfering with religious expression.


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