Civil liberties for (powerful) individuals

If you want to protect individual liberty, then you need to protect civil liberties. Those are not the same thing.

I think Corey Robin shouldn’t allow them to be used interchangeably in this piece, “Ron Paul has two problems: one is his, the other is ours“:

Ron Paul has two problems. One is his and the larger conservative movement of which he is a part. The other is ours — by which I mean a left that is committed to both economic democracy and anti-imperialism.

… Our problem — and again by “our” I mean a left that’s social democratic (or welfare state liberal or economically progressive or whatever the hell you want to call it) and anti-imperial — is that we don’t really have a vigorous national spokesperson for the issues of war and peace, an end to empire, a challenge to Israel, and so forth, that Paul has in fact been articulating. The source of Paul’s positions on these issues are not the same as ours (again more reason not to give him our support). But he is talking about these issues, often in surprisingly blunt and challenging terms. Would that we had someone on our side who could make the case against an American empire, or American supremacy, in such a pungent way.

… In the last week, liberals and progressives have been arguing about these issues; Digby has been especially cogent and worth listening to. The only thing I have to add to that debate is this: both sides are right. Not in a the-truth-lies-somewhere-in-between sort of way. Nor in a can’t-we-all-get-along sort of way. No, both sides are right in the sense that I laid out above: Ron Paul is unacceptable, and it’s unacceptable that we don’t have someone on the left who is raising the issues of imperialism, war and peace, and civil liberties in as visible and forceful a way.

I think Dennis Kucinich is an example of someone of Paul’s stature among liberals and progressives who is “raising the issues of imperialism, war and peace, and civil liberties in as visible and forceful a way.”

The parallels between Paul and Kucinich are extensive — similar congressional histories, similar public perception, similar charisma (positive and negative), similar approach to amplifying their influence through outsider presidential runs. Both have made a similar bargain in their political lives, exchanging short-term effectiveness in the hope of creating a less-compromising long-term change. And that bargain has played out for both in similar ways.

Paul gets a bit more attention because he’s perceived as more out-of-line with his own party on those issues, and thus he’s regarded as more exceptional and notable in a man-bites-dog sense. As an anti-imperial, anti-war, pro-civil liberties Democrat, Kucinich may be out-of-step with the current trajectory and momentum of his party, but it’s not particularly remarkable for a person with his views to be a Democrat nor for a Democrat to have his views.

The biggest difference between the two is that Kucinich really does believe in civil liberties. Ron Paul doesn’t.

He just doesn’t. Ask him. Ron Paul believes in individual liberties — and that is not the same thing at all.

If you believe in civil liberties, then you will believe that things like the Civil Rights Act, DADT repeal, marriage equality, hate-crime protections, Ledbetter, etc., are necessary and vital to ensure than non-majority individuals will experience some measure of the freedoms that the powerful enjoy. If you believe only in individual liberties, then you’ll oppose all such measures as Big Government meddling that restricts individual freedom (including the freedom to discriminate).

If you believe only in individual liberty, you can even find yourself in the absurd position of defending the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as some kind of principled defense of the freedom of speech. If you believe in civil liberties, then in your view that decision is clearly one that gives free rein to the powerful to exercise their rights against the powerless, and thus you will believe that government action is justified to protect the rights of the powerless from being trampled by the powerful.

The basic distinction is that an advocate of individual liberty mainly perceives of the government as a potential threat to individual liberty, whereas an advocate of civil liberty also sees a vital role for the government in constraining the liberty of the powerful to inhibit the liberty of the powerless. The two perspectives overlap quite a bit — both would agree, for example, that torture and indefinite detention by the government are utterly unacceptable — but they also diverge far too dramatically to be used as interchangeable terms.

So I’ll happily commend Ron Paul for being against imperialism and for opposing torture and indefinite detention, but it’s simply incorrect to regard him as a champion of civil liberties.

In any case, for those interested in this still-unfolding blogfight, below the jump is a Ron Paul Reader — a collection of some recent links on the subject that struck me as insightful or interesting or both.

Angry Bear: “Ron Paul Challenges Liberals — or Maybe Not

What Stollar describes as “contradictions within modern liberalism” boils down to liberalism needing big government to be interventionist, as Atkins demonstrates, but not imperialistic.  But this is a totally coherent position. The problem lies not with progressive liberalism, but with the practical realities of managing a power system — which is what government is — in a way that advances the common good, while holding the drive for imperialistic and domestic domination in check. This is going to be a central practical problem with any governing system or political philosophy — at least for one that takes seriously the idea of advancing the common good. To say it is the problem of liberalism is to ignore human nature, political reality, and the entirety of history.

Harold Pollack: “Ron Paul’s other 1964 (okay 1965) problem

Medicare’s first, often-forgotten achievement was to integrate hospitals throughout the south. … Medicare pried open the doors of hitherto segregated facilities, saving the lives of striking numbers of black infants who would otherwise have died from pneumonia, dehydration, and other readily-treated ailments. That was the human reality of segregation that federal civil rights laws, and the major Great Society programs, sought to address.

Thus one confronts what might be called Ron Paul’s other 1964 problem: His opposition to basic pillars of our modern welfare state, which are so essential to maintaining a humane society. Several of these pillars – Medicare and Medicaid principally among them – were established during 1964 and 1965 by the same people who championed civil rights legislation.

… Libertarians deserve credit for noting abuses of government power and for criticizing oversteps such as the drug war. Of course, there’s nothing distinctively libertarian about these specific concerns, which are standard fare among liberal Democrats. The federal government indeed poses worrisome threats to individual liberty. Libertarians err if they presume that federal power is the only or always the most concerning of these threats. Local governments, corporations, intolerant majorities can pose equally worrisome threats, too. There’s just more to fear in this world than are dreamt of in libertarian philosophy.

There is something else, too. Each of us faces risks that would easily crush any one of us, if we were abandoned to face these risks alone. We need to take care of each other. If you don’t believe that, you don’t belong on the stage in American politics. Credible charges of racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism don’t help. In my book, these charges are almost beside the point.

Jonathan Chait: “How Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles Support Racism

This is an analysis that makes sense only within the airtight confines of libertarian doctrine. It dissipates with even the slightest whiff of exposure to external reality. The entire premise rests upon ignoring the social power that dominant social groups are able to wield outside of the channels of the state. Yet in the absence of government protection, white males, acting solely through their exercise of freedom of contract and association, have historically proven quite capable of erecting what any sane observer would recognize as actual impediments to the freedom of minorities and women.

The most fevered opponents of civil rights in the fifties and sixties — and, for that matter, the most fervent defenders of slavery a century before — also usually made their case in in process terms rather than racist ones. They stood for the rights of the individual, or the rights of the states, against the federal Goliath. I am sure Paul’s motives derive from ideological fervor rather than a conscious desire to oppress minorities. But the relationship between the abstract principles of his worldview and the ugly racism with which it has so frequently been expressed is hardly coincidental.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “The Messenger

We are faced with a candidate who published racism under his name, defended that publication when it was convenient, and blamed it on ghost-writers when it wasn’t, whose take on the Civil War is at home with Lost-Causers, and whose take on the Civil Rights Act is at home with segregationists. Ostensibly this is all coincidence, or if it isn’t, it should be excused because Ron Paul is a lone voice speaking on the important issues that plague our nation.

Michael A. Cohen: “The World According to Ron Paul

Paul uneasily falls into a long-silenced tradition in Republican politics of isolationist thought. While Paul is often quick to note that he is not an economic protectionist (and thus, he claims, not an isolationist) he is, says Christopher Nichols, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania who has written extensively on isolationism, more of a political isolationist. He doesn’t want America to turn its back from the world; he wants rather to end all alliances and international arrangements to which the United States is a participant. Indeed, Paul is even more radical in his views than the Idaho Republican Senator William Borah and Ohio Senator Robert Taft, who were the standard bearers of GOP isolationism in the 1930s and 1940s. According to Nichols, Paul’s foreign policy attitudes are much more influenced by his libertarian absolutism than by the legacy of Borah and Taft.

Michelle Goldberg: “Ron Paul’s Christian Reconstructionist Roots

Paul’s support among the country’s most committed theocrats is deep and longstanding, something that’s poorly understood among those who simply see him as a libertarian. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when the Paul campaign touted the endorsement of Phil Kayser, a Nebraska pastor with an Iowa following who calls for the execution of homosexuals. Nor was it shocking to learn that Mike Heath, Paul’s Iowa state director, is a former board chairman of “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group. Should Paul win the Iowa caucuses, it will actually be a triumph for a fundamentalist faction that has until now been considered a fringe even on the Christian right.

To understand Paul’s religious-right support, it’s necessary to wade a bit into the theological weeds. Most American evangelicals are premillennial dispensationalists. They believe that God has a special plan for the nation of Israel, which will play a key role in the end of days and the return of Christ. A smaller segment of evangelicals hews to what’s called reformed or covenant theology, which, as Deace explains, “tends to teach that in this day the church is what Israel was in the Old Testament.” In other words, Christians are the new chosen people. Covenant theologians aren’t necessarily anti-Israel, but they don’t give it any special religious significance.

Covenant theologians, it’s important to stress, aren’t more liberal than mainstream evangelicals. In fact, they’re often much further to the right. While dispensationalists believe that Christ will return imminently and establish a biblical reign on earth, covenant theologians tend to believe its man’s job to create Christ’s kingdom before he comes back. The most radical faction of covenant theology is called Christian Reconstructionism, a movement founded by R. J. Rushdoony that seeks to turn the book of Leviticus into law, imposing the death penalty for gay people, blasphemers, unchaste women, and myriad other sinners.

Mainstream figures in the religious right have typically recoiled from Reconstructionists, even as they’ve incorporated ideas that originated in the movement.

Warren Throckmorton has been very good at tracing Paul’s links and appeal to that far-right theological faction. See:

Adele M. Stan: “Major Ron Paul Supporter Favors Death Penalty for Gays

Video: Ron Paul’s 1998 John Birch Society Documentary on the UN Plot to Take Over the USA” (Via David Weigel)

Evan McMorris-Santoro: “With Mixed Results, Ron Paul Tries to Terrify Small Town Iowa

Bouphonia: “Protect the Queen!

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  • Anonymous

    He does believe it was designed to protect people’s rights to believe as
    they wish and to define their own morality, so long as they don’t step
    on the rights of others. I have the impression, his voting and oratory
    is consistent with those values, especially on this issue.

    What about my right not to be pregnant tomorrow, regardless of whether I’m pregnant today? He’s quite happy to stomp on that. Maybe do an Irish jig.

    practically speaking, Dr. Paul’s position, which allows States to
    decide, is the most favorable one for gay rights. I’m not saying you
    should be happy about it. I’m only pointing to practical realities.

    The practical reality, Gordon_Dye, is that some QUILTBAG people live in ALA-FUCKING-BAMA. Ala-fucking-bama is going to be one of the last states to adopt marriage equality, if the feds don’t force it upon them. The most favorable position for QUILTBAG rights is, we get sympathetic people in the federal government and we have them enact legislation protecting QUILTBAG rights nationwide, or overturn existing legislation on the grounds that said does not protect QUILTBAG rights.

  • Anonymous

    He does believe it was designed to protect people’s rights to believe as
    they wish and to define their own morality, so long as they don’t step
    on the rights of others. I have the impression, his voting and oratory
    is consistent with those values, especially on this issue.

    What about my right not to be pregnant tomorrow, regardless of whether I’m pregnant today? He’s quite happy to stomp on that. Maybe do an Irish jig.

    practically speaking, Dr. Paul’s position, which allows States to
    decide, is the most favorable one for gay rights. I’m not saying you
    should be happy about it. I’m only pointing to practical realities.

    The practical reality, Gordon_Dye, is that some QUILTBAG people live in ALA-FUCKING-BAMA. Ala-fucking-bama is going to be one of the last states to adopt marriage equality, if the feds don’t force it upon them. The most favorable position for QUILTBAG rights is, we get sympathetic people in the federal government and we have them enact legislation protecting QUILTBAG rights nationwide, or overturn existing legislation on the grounds that said does not protect QUILTBAG rights.

  • Anonymous

    He does believe it was designed to protect people’s rights to believe as
    they wish and to define their own morality, so long as they don’t step
    on the rights of others. I have the impression, his voting and oratory
    is consistent with those values, especially on this issue.

    What about my right not to be pregnant tomorrow, regardless of whether I’m pregnant today? He’s quite happy to stomp on that. Maybe do an Irish jig.

    practically speaking, Dr. Paul’s position, which allows States to
    decide, is the most favorable one for gay rights. I’m not saying you
    should be happy about it. I’m only pointing to practical realities.

    The practical reality, Gordon_Dye, is that some QUILTBAG people live in ALA-FUCKING-BAMA. Ala-fucking-bama is going to be one of the last states to adopt marriage equality, if the feds don’t force it upon them. The most favorable position for QUILTBAG rights is, we get sympathetic people in the federal government and we have them enact legislation protecting QUILTBAG rights nationwide, or overturn existing legislation on the grounds that said does not protect QUILTBAG rights.

    This whole argument has been based on the presumption that rights extend
    beyond the individual, which doesn’t compute. Any benefits beyond the
    individual are privileges not rights.

    So marriage, contrary to the position of a great many US courts, is a privilege?

  • Anonymous

    So marriage, contrary to the position of a great many US courts, is a privilege?

    Once again, we are not talking about marriage, which is a right, or at least should be per Dr. Paul. We are talking about the benefits society affords married couples. Yes, those benefits are privileges. 

  • Anonymous

    Weird, I’d given up on that post ever going through. Damn you Disqus.

    So…I, Elizabeth, should be permitted to marry my girlfriend Sarah, because that’s a right, but Sarah and I should not be permitted to visit each other in the hospital or be on each other’s health insurance or get the elective share of the other’s property should the other die, unless the state we happen to be in at the time deigns to grant us those privileges? What is the point of marriage if it doesn’t make two people legally each other’s primary family?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Another little known “issue” that the establishment is scared of.. he
    will eliminate the stranglehold on the number of medical universities
    that the AMA has. That will make more doctors available and reduce the
    cost of medical care across the board.

    This is valid to the extent that the AMA and the medical schools do artificially restrict entry in order to drive up wages for doctors. However the answer is not to simply abolish everything to do with medicine. What does he actually envision as a long-term strategy here? Sure, doctor salaries might push the cost of medicine down through competition, but then they would be forced to advertise even more than they do now, which means the much-vaunted benefits sound more like they’d just be a wash*.

    * in economics, usually used to mean costs and benefits cancel out, leaving things largely unchanged in terms of overall monetary gains/losses.

  • Anonymous

    In his book he doesn’t say what to do about the problem. He describes the problem in detail ascribing it to the Flexner Report of 1910. He follows up the discussion of freeing the production of doctors with:

    “The point is not to endorse one or another theory of medicine. The point is that we need consumer choice and the process of market-based improvements to take over. To this end, we need to remove any obstacles for people seeking holistic and nutritional alternatives to current medical care. We must further remove the threat of regulations pushed by the drug companies now working worldwide to limit these alternatives. True competition in the delivery of medical care is what is needed, not more government meddling.”

    He goes on to say that Obama has been unfairly characterized with his medical care plan as his reforms have been very similar to reforms pushed by Republicans over decades. 

  • Jenora Feuer

    “The point is not to endorse one or another theory of medicine. The
    point is that we need consumer choice and the process of market-based
    improvements to take over. To this end, we need to remove any obstacles
    for people seeking holistic and nutritional alternatives to current
    medical care. We must further remove the threat of regulations pushed by
    the drug companies now working worldwide to limit these alternatives.
    True competition in the delivery of medical care is what is needed, not
    more government meddling.”

    And I can practically hear Orac and some of the other Science-Based Medicine people screaming from here.

    I agree that more doctors need to be made available.  Opening the field up to the quacks is not the answer.  There’s more than enough of that going on already.

    You know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that actually works?  Medicine.  If any of this stuff actually passed tests that showed it worked better than giving people a sugar pill and lying about it, it would be used.  As it is, the best of the ‘holistic alternatives’ are mostly just giving people a sugar pill and lying about it (see homeopathy, which basically boils down to claiming that water keeps a memory via sympathetic magic to cure things); some of the techniques of things like colloidal silver can be actively harmful.

  • P J Evans

    Opening the field up to the quacks is not the answer.

    The suggestion I ran into, years ago, was to license the quacks as quacks and make them keep accurate, complete records of what they do and how they do it and which patients with what conditions responded how. In other words, turn their work into useful research, which, if they actually have something, might become accepted practice.

  • Kish

    The suggestion I ran into, years ago, was to license the quacks as quacks
    and make them keep accurate, complete records of what they do and how
    they do it and which patients with what conditions responded how. In
    other words, turn their work into useful research, which, if they
    actually have something, might become accepted practice.

    The phrase “license the quacks as quacks” conjures up the image of an office like a doctor’s office, but somewhere, posted in prominent view as required by law, is a paper with a lot of fine print and a large picture of a duck in the upper lefthand corner.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I can’t imagine that quacks would go for a system that requires them to keep written evidence of how everything they do is ineffective

  • Lori

     
    “The point is not to endorse one or another theory of medicine. The point is that we need consumer choice and the process of market-based improvements to take over. To this end, we need to remove any obstacles for people seeking holistic and nutritional alternatives to current medical care. We must further remove the threat of regulations pushed by the drug companies now working worldwide to limit these alternatives. True competition in the delivery of medical care is what is needed, not more government meddling.”  

     

    So, you feel that you have all the knowledge and time you need to exercise “free choice” in medical care, even in the face of fraudulent advertising? I assume that you have a job and other responsibilities and interests and therefore do not plan to devote yourself to the issue full time. That means that you’ll need to expend effort wisely by focusing on the conditions for which you will require treatment and ignoring those that will not effect you. How confident are you that you know exactly which illnesses and diseases will effect you? What do you plan to do if you’re wrong and find yourself faced with an emergency situation about which you do not have the knowledge required to make an informed choice?

    Dr Paul’s plan is an open invitation to every quack, fraud and charlatan in the world to set up shop in the US and kill desperate people. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    ISTR that the US military advised Dubya Bush against his adventurism. Contrary to popular opinion, although the military tends to inculcate He-Man machoness among its members and this leaks out into the civilian population, the Joint Chiefs of Staff don’t like quagmires any more than you or I would, and anyone could easily figure out that Iraq adventurism would be exactly that.

    Yes, Saddam was a bad bad man*, but that also meant that if the USA were to be serious about removing him, then Dubya Bush should have thought further ahead than just “wave the US military around like his personal billy club”.

    * Has anyone noticed the child-like way such conflicts tend to get simplified down to these days? The only mistake Dubya did was get so cringeworthily personal about it that it was immediately obvious how fake the rationalization was.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    The only mistake Dubya did was get so cringeworthily personal about it
    that it was immediately obvious how fake the rationalization was.

    it was hardly the ONLY mistake, but it was definitely one of the biggest ones.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    The only mistake Dubya did was get so cringeworthily personal about it
    that it was immediately obvious how fake the rationalization was.

    it was hardly the ONLY mistake, but it was definitely one of the biggest ones.

  • P J Evans

    Picture the world ten years from now as a community of sovereign nations that respect each other’s right to govern even though their form of government is unlike ours. Now picture it as it would be if we are all subject to the United Nations and the World Health Organization where their edicts are enforced on our soil.

    First of all, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.
    Second, we’re not so special that we shouldn’t be treated like we treat other countries.
    Third, WHO is (AFAIK) competent and good at their work: they were the ones running the program that killed smallpox as a disease.

    So Ron Paul is out of touch with reality and shouldn’t be president.

  • JohnK

    “Subject to the United Nations edicts”? Ah, now we’re in Nicolae Carpathia territory.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Third, WHO is (AFAIK) competent and good at their work: they were the ones running the program that killed smallpox as a disease.

    But in this country, we care about *LIBERTY*.  Who the fuck are the WHO to tell pme I can’t have smallpox if I want it?

    And think of the economic opportunities they RUINED in the reconstructive pox-mark surgery industry.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Third, WHO is (AFAIK) competent and good at their work: they were the ones running the program that killed smallpox as a disease.

    But in this country, we care about *LIBERTY*.  Who the fuck are the WHO to tell pme I can’t have smallpox if I want it?

    And think of the economic opportunities they RUINED in the reconstructive pox-mark surgery industry.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

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

    ACLU Report Card Puts Ron Paul Above President Obama

  • Lori

    Yup, with basically nothing to lose and no ability to effect the outcome of much of anything Paul had a better voting record than the person who actually has to fight the GOP to get things done. 

    Obama is a huge disappointment in many areas, but that doesn’t make Ron Paul some sort of savior. 

    It’s also worth noting that the one thing for which Obama got a perfect score is gay rights and Ron Paul is and would be a total disaster in that area. 

    Ron Paul: Bad for QUITBAG folks. Bad for women. Bad for racial minorities. Staggeringly bad on immigration. Clueless about the Pentagon. Delusional about the gold standard. But terrific in theory on Gitmo. Go Paul!

  • JohnK

    It’s not exactly as if beating Obama on civil rights when you’re an ineffectual congressperson is some kind of achievement. I mean, most of us probably have a better record than him anyway, solely by virtue of never being in a position where we could do anything bad even if we wanted to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Incidentally, Gary Johnson beats Ron Paul in nearly every single category, from gay rights (he opposes DOMA, supports same-sex marriage (not just civil unions, and supported the repeal of DADT) to racial profiling (he opposes the SB 1070 law in Texas).

    It’s also important to point out that while Ron Paul takes a strong principled stand against torture, secret prisons, and other such crimes, Barack Obama actually did something about those things.

    (That’s been my problem with Paul in general — he has the right idea on a lot of issues, but he doesn’t seem interested in actually putting them into effect. Obama closed the CIA secret prisons and forced the CIA and the military to restrict interrogation methods to the legal methods outlined in the Army Field Manual using executive orders. If Paul refuses to use executive orders, he will essentially be forced to ask Congress to do it for him, and one would think that the passage of such things as USAPATRIOT and the NDAA would make that an unpalatable solution to human rights violations.)

  • P J Evans

    Obama closed the CIA secret prisons and forced the CIA and the military
    to restrict interrogation methods to the legal methods outlined in the
    Army Field Manual using executive orders.

    Maybe. There were so many weaseling statements there that I can’t say that any of that is true. And they revised the Field Manual so as to allow some stuff that they shouldn’t allow.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    spin spin spin

  • Lori

    fanboy fanboy fanboy

  • FangsFirst

    fanboy fanboy fanboy

    If you’ve lost interest in even attempting to argue, and can’t
    muster up more than a vaguely contemptuous sneer at other people’s
    points, that’s generally a sign you should leave the discussion.

    Hold on, now.

    Maybe that wasn’t a snarky reference to the points of others.

    Maybe he just got tired of typing whole messages and figured “spin spin spin” would cover his usual approach in a more economic way, without having to think through all the minutiae of envisioning magical worlds. So, you know, a very succinct version of his own response with no window dressing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I respect that. The free market is driven by a pursuit of efficiency. If we can boil down complicated policy disputes into snarky, contentless catchphrases that can fit neatly on a sign (“9-9-9”!), it would definitely make having a discussion much easier.

    Maybe.
    There were so many weaseling statements there that I can’t say that any
    of that is true. And they revised the Field Manual so as to allow some
    stuff that they shouldn’t allow.

    Well, damn. I was just going by the ACLU website on that one. Probably should have done more research, huh?

  • FangsFirst

    I think we can continue many of the conversations on Ron Paul with:
    “Valid point of information”
    “spin spin spin”
    “Acceptance of very small true portion of spun response, with further confirmation of prior information”
    “Spin spin spin”

    Which, you’re right–way easier! (plus, if he just continues to admit straight up that his posts consist of spinning, the need to respond dissipates!)

  • ako

    If you’ve lost interest in even attempting to argue, and can’t muster up more than a vaguely contemptuous sneer at other people’s points, that’s generally a sign you should leave the discussion. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I thought it was a clever response and I thought it was clear that I was saying YOU were spinning, sorry if that wasn’t clear

    Ron Paul got a higher grade than Obama. He didn’t not get a higher grade than him and yet, you tried to make it look that way which is called spinning.

    The best defense I guess was that Gary Johnsons score was higher though Johnson is also a republican/ libertarian.

    anyone else want to try to spin the fact that Paul got a higher score than Obama some more? Come on,  show everyone had totally disingenous you can really be.

    ako-  I’m not making an argument. My point is that ron Paul scored higher than Obama. there is no argument about that from anyone as far as I can tell.

    Is someone going to attack the ACLU now?

  • hapax

    Ron Paul got a higher grade than Obama. He didn’t not get a higher grade
    than him and yet, you tried to make it look that way which is called
    spinning.

    No.  People didn’t deny the grade.  We discussed the relevance of the grade.  We tried to put it into context.

    Y’know, all that hard “thinking”-type stuff that the Ron Paul campaign wishes to free us from.

    After all, I took the SATs the same year that Michael Jordan and got a MUCH higher grade.  Does that mean that UNC should have offered me a full basketball scholarship?

  • ako

    If you think the ACLU score is really important and people are underestimating the significance of it, then say something, don’t just throw out “spin spin spin” and expect us to interpret it as part of a discussion.  (Similarly, if you think “Some liberals support position X” means anything, say so and don’t just assume that we all know why you think it’s significant and find that information somehow persuasive.)

    And could you please stop strawmanning people?  If you’re seriously trying to anticipate people’s arguments, you are really bad at it, and need to stop doing it.  If you’re deliberately setting up easy-to-knock-down strawmen rather than reply to people’s actual points, you’re trying to create the illusion of winning the argument without making an honest effort to participate in one, which is cheap and low.

    Either way, cut it out.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    hapax- that was decent spin but I think you can do better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I thought you were serious about wanting to discuss this issue, but apparently you’re just trying to rile people up now. That’s really disappointing. Ron Paul seems like a thoughtful, intelligent person but he probably has the most irritating cyber fanclub of any candidate. I don’t agree with him on much of anything but I have a hell of a lot more respect for him than I do for his lazy, glib Internet fanboys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deankchang Dean Chang

    It’s hard to follow the many different conversations here, but I must say that some of you attacking Ron Paul are the ones that sound like you’re just trying to rile people up.  Especially Lori.  I don’t typically read all the comments, but her posts in this thread are so snarky and over the top I can see how it’s really hard to engage in a real discussion.  I actually thought that the “fanboys” were relatively respectful in their responses.  I’m not sure why everyone is getting so apoplectic about Ron Paul especially when he’s not likely to win the nomination.  I think the things he speaks out against, whether you agree with his position or underlying reasoning or not, are important and need more national attention, things like: (1) Patriot Act and NDAA, (2) the failed war on drugs, (3) crony capitalism and regulatory capture, (4) debasement of the dollar, (5) unending foreign wars, (6) the deficit and the debt, (7) gitmo, just to name a few.  It’s true, he is not a big supporter of marriage equality and abortion rights in the progressive vein, issues that many of you care about, but that doesn’t mean you can discredit him on all these other matters.  If I were to characterize those issues as “pet” issues everyone here would freak out.  Sounds like a double standard to me.  There are a lot of candidates on the left and right that I think are terrible, but I wouldn’t vilify them they way many of you are vilifying Ron Paul, it’s really not helpful.

  • Lori

    I’m terribly sorry that I don’t meet your standards for discussion Dean. It’s difficult not to snark in the face of things like this: 

     It’s true, he is not a big supporter of marriage equality and abortion rights in the progressive vein, 

    which is an early contender for understatement of the year. 

     but that doesn’t mean you can discredit him on all these other matters.  

    This is true. Paul’s racism, homophobia and misogyny do not automatically discredit him on all other matters. However, they do quite effectively discredit him on the issues that the fanboys repeatedly inform us are Paul’s strengths. I would not under any circumstances trust a man with Paul’s clearly stated and oft-demonstrated views on women, racial minorities and people who are not heterosexual on any issue of civil rights, the Constitution or individual liberty. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    ako- all i did was point out the ACLU’s findings.

  • ako

    And your reason for that was?  Did you mean for us to draw some sort of conclusion from that, or were you merely mentioning any interesting bit of trivia you stumbled across? 

    Because if it’s the latter, the largest documented manta ray was more than twenty-five feet across and weighed nearly three thousand pounds. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Because if
    it’s the latter, the largest documented manta ray was more than
    twenty-five feet across and weighed nearly three thousand pounds.

    Bullshit. That’s just what the big pro-manta corporate lobbies want you to think.

  • FangsFirst

    Because if it’s the latter, the largest documented manta ray was more
    than twenty-five feet across and weighed nearly three thousand pounds.

    Rays are one of the groups of animals (I almost said “families” but I’m aware of my extreme shortcomings at taxonomy, especially with a mother who has a doctorate in reproductive physiology and her BS from Cornell, which she *worked* through–yes, she has THAT doctorate and later became a Methodist minister) that I have always just loved.

    Would you be my new best friend for choosing *that* fact to share? that is AWESOME.

  • ako

    I’m always happy to bond over the awesomeness of rays!

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    http://www.aclulibertywatch.org/ALWCandidateReportCard.pdf

    ^full ACLU report. I wonder if Glenn Greenwald or someone like that will lead some kind of left libertarian movement.

  • ako

    So you decide to spam everyone with the same point over and over again while not actually admitting to having any kind of point?  That’s both obnoxious and pathetic.


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