More thread for those who wish to discuss Ron Paul

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. — Martin Luther King Jr.

Since we’re now approaching 300 comments on the previous Ron Paul-related post, it may be good to get some fresh, front-page thread for those who would like to continue that discussion.

I’ll turn to Tim Wise to push the conversation forward a bit: “Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals.”

If a man believes there is a straight line of unbroken tyranny betwixt the torture and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists on the one hand, and anti-discrimination laws that seek to extend to all persons equal opportunity, on the other, that man is a lunatic. Worse than a lunatic, that man is a person of such extraordinarily obtuse philosophical and moral discernment as to call into real question whether he should even be allowed to go through life absent the protective and custodial assistance of a straightjacket, let alone hold office. That one might believe in unicorns would still allow one to profess a level of sagacity and synaptic activity in one’s brain several measures beyond that of the man who thinks liberty is equally imperiled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as by the CIA.

That any liberal, progressive or leftist could waste so much as a kind word about someone as this is mind-boggling. There are not many litmus tests for being a progressive in good standing in this country, but one would think, if there were, that surely to God, civil rights would be one of them. It is one thing to disagree about the proper level of taxation, either on the wealthy or corporations: honest people can disagree about that, and for reasons that would still permit one to claim the mantle of liberalism or progressivism; so too with defense spending, drug policy, trade, education reform, energy policy, and any number of other things. But the notion that one can be a progressive, even merely liberal, while praising someone who believes that companies should be allowed to post “No Blacks Need Apply” signs if they wish, and that only the market should determine whether that kind of bigotry will stand, is so stupefying that it should render even the most cynical of us utterly bereft of words. It is, or should be, a deal-breaker among decent people.

(See also, via Shakesville: Answers to the Turner Diaries vs. Ron Paul Newsletters quiz.)

And since earlier I compared Paul’s opposition to imperialism and torture to similar stances from liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich, I should note Robert Farley’s argument on that point: “Ron Paul Ain’t Good on Foreign Policy.”

This comparison rests on a basic falsehood, which is that the foreign policy of Ron Paul resembles that of [Sen. Bernie] Sanders or Kucinich in any meaningful way. Kucinich, for example, is an avid supporter of the United Nations, as well a host of other international institutions. He also supports robust foreign aid, and a variety of other positions that suggest a commitment to using US social and economic leverage in a non-violent way to improve international outcomes.

Bernie Sanders has a very similar record. Kucinich and Sanders are both firmly on the left side of the liberal internationalist consensus, while Paul rejects that consensus altogether. This means that they incidentally share a few positions, just as Kucinich and Sanders incidentally share a few positions with Jim Demint, but it doesn’t mean that they’re saying the same thing about foreign policy, or that progressives ought to think of them in the same way.


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  • Chris Hadrick

    lori – I didn’t find any. creationist?

  • Matri


  • Lori

    no people would have died screaming  


    No, no people. Just the slaves who tried and failed to reach Union territory or who were so far from the border that they had no realistic hope of success and therefore were trapped in slavery. And of course those who had physical limitations or young children or elderly parents and as a result couldn’t make a run for it. 

    But no people. 

    Edited to clarify that this is sarcasm. Bitter, bitter sarcasm.

    and there would be no risk of a possible half century of complete misery for African Americans everywhere between the Canadian and Mexican borders being ushered in. 


    What planet are we talking about? It must be some planet where Reconstruction was worse than slavery in the South and that’s not this planet.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    I just realized the civil war aspect started because Lori pointed out
    that lincoln suspended the gold standard. and I said “oh how civilized
    they suspended it to pay for a WAR” then we got this massive civil war

    Any government that doesn’t resort to the printing press to pay for a war is either reallllly flush with cash, or run by some really confident (and dare I say over-confident?) folks.

    The closest equivalent today would be if a Moon-sized asteroid were dead on target for the planet Earth. No government on the planet would give a damn about the soundness of their currencies in the hell-bent-for-leather drive to find a way to get rid of it.

    When survival is at stake, a lot of the usual rules go out the window.

  • guest

    I can’t believe I’m still reading this, after having chipped in a small piece of information early on; I now feel compelled to jot down three things.  First, the word ‘relevant’ doesn’t appear to be in someone’s personal dictionary…I don’t know why you do it, but good for the rest of you attempting to keep up with all the flying crap.  I guess when I’ve seen this elsewhere on the Net I think ‘that’s really cool, there are so many people who are familiar with so much and willing to share their sources of knowledge.’ 

    Second, re ‘deportation’–I won’t even pretend to be an expert in that part of American history, but I am an expert in what I called, to a colleague’s student the other day, ‘forward history’–‘OK, I just sat through your presentation of why x was inevitable because of y blah blah blah, but if you were [in his case] in 1804, what would YOU have known, thought and believed?’  [I was thrilled to see the light go on in this guy’s head; apparently he spent the rest of the afternoon muttering to himself about ‘forward history’.]  We can say now that it was cruel to consider sending Africans back to Africa, particularly (as a lot of Americans like to think) given subsequent developments in America and Africa, but if I’d been kidnapped from my home, family and social network, taken somewhere with a different climate, food, culture, and language, isolated from everyone I’d ever known, and treated unspeakably cruelly by the people who lived there, and then someone had come along and said ‘we fought a war and now you’re free of this nightmare, what do you want?’ I would immediately say I WANT TO GO HOME.  NOW.  But I guess by the time this happened in the USA it was too late–too many generations had already been born in America, and were Americans.

    Third, re ‘racist’–I don’t know why that’s a conversation stopper.  I prefer the Jay Smooth formulation, not ‘you’re racist’ but ‘that was a racist thing to say’–a couple of times black friends of mine have said ‘you’re wrong, and that’s a racist attitude’.  And I’ve said ‘shit, really?  Hm.’ And later ‘yeah, you’re right, I spoke without knowing what I was talking about and I apologise.’  And there you go.

  • Hawker40

    What we have here is a confusion of cause and effect.  In reality, the cause preceeds the effect (called “casuality” in some physics textbooks).
    Someone has argued that
    a. The South seceeded over the Morrill Tarrif, which passed only because Southern congressman walked out and didn’t go into effect until the South had seceeded.
    b. The South seceeded because of Lincoln’s tyranny, in that he suspended Habeas Corpus, which occured after the South seceeded in a state that hadn’t seceeded.

    In the desperation to find a excuse for Southron treason that doesn’t involve slavery, they grasp at straws.  A leads to B which justifies A.  But if event A never happens, event B doesn’t happen meaning there is no justification for A!  It’s a paradox worthy of many a time traveler movie.  In fact, it reminds me of the first three Terminator movies.

  • Chris Hadrick

    kubricks- we’re lucky we had the constitution that kept FDR somewhat in check, but the direction towards centralization was the same all over the world. We should have gone in the opposite direction, that would have made a statement and I will say the right is much to blame for this via Buckley and the cold war crowd. Mussolini would probably be a better copmarison to FDR than the others though. People are too blase about the fact that we were allied with Stalin. It’s demented if you really think about it.

    ” What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to reduce Chris Hadrick’s taxes”

    solving problems peacefully is for wimps. someone gotta die or it won’t make the history books!

  • Anonymous

    “solving problems peacefully is for wimps”

    No, solving this problem peacefully, as we’ve been explaining for hundreds of comments now, was not possible.

    “we’re lucky we had the constitution that kept FDR somewhat in check, but the direction towards centralization was the same all over the world. We should have gone in the opposite direction”

    You are obsessed with direction over results. The direction may have been towards centralization, but centralization in a republic is just not the same thing as centralization in a totalitarian state. It is this insistence on ideology over reality on your part that frustrates me so, because you cannot look at life in the US for the past 80 years and claim to see lurking under the thin veneer of progress and slow expansion of liberty (yeah I said it) and justice for all the utter horrors of life under Stalin or Hitler or Mussolini or Mao. No one’s been taken to the box cars, but based on those marginal tax rates and food regulations it’s only a matter of time! No.

    To suggest we should have gone in the opposite direction means what, in practical, real world terms? It’s March 4, 1933 and you’ve just been sworn in as President- last year GNP fell a record 13.4 percent, unemployment rose to 23.6 percent; since 1929 over 13 million Americans have lost their jobs, the money supply has contracted 31%, farm prices have fallen 53% and international trade has fallen by 66%- all under the laissez-faire policies of the prevous administration which has now been rejected by the voting public. Oh, and Adolf Hitler took control of Germany six weeks ago. So what does it mean to go in “the opposite direction” that history actually took? What does it mean for the citizens of America and the rest of the world? President Hadrick, what’s a libertarian to do?

  • Lori

     solving problems peacefully failing to solve the real problem at all is for wimps. the morally superior. someone else has gotta be left to die or it won’t make the history books those of us who are the only ones who are good enough to hate war won’t be able to feel morally superior while spouting lies and doing nothing!   

    Fixed that for ya. 

  • Chris Hadrick

    start a ridiculous rube Goldberg version of italian Fascism of course.

  • emilyperson


    Do you even know how fascism works? Do you even know who Rube Goldberg was? Are you just tossing word salad here?
    Just admit that FDR didn’t take the worst course possible and that there are worse things than taxes. (Like genocide and its dear relative slavery!)
    And then try to grasp that the US didn’t actually like the Soviet Union, but the USSR was at war with the same people it wanted to go to war with (after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; before that it wanted no part in the war officially, though that didn’t stop it from aiding the Allied cause,) and it was the enemy of our enemy, and all that jazz.

  • Rikalous

    start a ridiculous rube Goldberg version of italian Fascism of course.

    Giving credit where credit is due, a fascism-and-oppression-themed Rube Goldberg device is darkly hilarious. Thank you, Chris, for giving me this image. I now return you to your regularly scheduled incomprehension.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, incidentally the precious Confederacy also suspended habeas corpus during wartime.

  • Lori

    Did they suspend it, or just not include it in their Constitution at all? 

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Suspended by the Confederate Congress, as it turns out.

  • Lori

    Suspended by the Confederate Congress, as it turns out. 


    Huh. I had totally missed that. You learn something new every day.

  • Hawker40

    Yes, for much the same reason as Lincoln did, to prevent secession.
    It failed in Western Virginia, but worked in Eastern Tennessee since Union troops couldn’t march thier in support.

  • Chris Hadrick

    it was a hodge podge. they had one department trying to raise grain prices and another trying to stabilize industrial prices. all by state fiat.