KURT’S NOTE: The following is a guest post from Jason Dye. I take no responsibility for the content of this article (except for posting it on his behalf). His piece gets at some of this issues that concern me about libertarian political philosophy. My belief is that an unregulated market and a “small government” will lead to social Darwinism. As Christians, we are invited to call governments to account when their actions or lack of actions lead to injustice for the most vulnerable in our society and in the world. Read Jason’s piece and see if you begin to understand that the issues are quite complex, beyond simply being “anti-war.”
As a big-mouth anti-war person, I meet a lot of other people who are also anti-war. Some of them have a very identifiable Christian-based consciousness against all things empire-a-violence based. I count as good friends Kurt Willems, Ian Ebright, and other Christians who are opposed to war because they believe that war opposes the person and practices of Jesus.
I also meet others who are opposed to war on principled and practical grounds, some of whom have first hand experiences of the ravages of rampant militarism and wars, which I, gratefully, do not. Many of of these sorts of anti-war allies have recently found themselves invested in the Ron Paul story (as well as some curious Christians). I can understand their fascination with a major political candidate that is against occupational wars and is openly suggesting ceasing the costly, ineffectual, dangerous, and racist war on drugs. On these issues, I agree with Ron Paul. However, these efforts do not stand on their own, and Paul acolytes fail to see the dark side of the gynecologist’s views. I propose that while Rep. Paul wants to end very detrimental wars, he is advocating for several other annihilating wars.
War on Government Protection
While his desire to end the Dept of Ed is questionable (it needs to be overhauled, not eliminated), it’s not as dreadful as his desire to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Paul and other Free Markies trust that the Free Market would force businesses to self-regulate. However, Free Marketstry is bad faith. Business is concerned primarily with the bottom-line and needs conscionable checks against it. Consumers buy what they consider to be the biggest bang for their buck – especially when they have few bucks with which to bang. Which is why Wal-Mart, with its horrible employment practices and crappy clothes, is pulling in much more money than much more ethical companies. And why ethical and local-based companies are being run out of business.
Boycotting a product not meeting up to moral or ethical standards is not effective when those with the most to lose are those with the least amount of purchasing power. Ending the EPA would effectively and quite literally kill the most vulnerable people (the poor, who are disproportionately people of color), as they are those most in need of protection from topical erosion, poisoned water and earth, lead paint, mercury, toxins, heavy air pollutants, etc.
What of Paul’s continual and bizarre attacks on the Civil Rights Act? The nicest that can be said about that is that at least he’s honest that he’s still against the bill. In a HuffPo article:
Paul explained that while he supports the fact that the legislation repealed the notorious Jim Crow laws, which forced racial segregation, he believes it is the government, not the people, that causes racial tensions by passing overreaching laws that institutionalize slavery and segregation.
This is a core Paleo-Conservative argument (even in Mr. Paul wouldn’t see it that way). It’s always some variant of: “Racism is caused by those N####-lovers always trying to shove Black People’s equal-ness down our throats. If they would stop trying to be equal, we wouldn’t have racism!”
Or how about Paul’s continued suggestions that women frustrated by sexual harassment in the workplace should leave the work force because they’re not suited to the environment? In one of his books, he makes it clear that it is not the government’s job to get involved in such affairs. He asserted that harassed women should not bring the courts in when feeling sexually abused because of “some joke.”
I don’t know what Paul envisions government’s role to be, but it would not include protecting those most in need of protection..
War on Financial Stability of Ethnic Minorities and WomenWhile Rep. Paul is right to point out the errors of the War on Drugs, he doesn’t seem the least concerned about why Black and Brown folks are disproportionately identified with illicit trafficking. Paul focuses on some of the symptoms of White Supremacy without acknowledging the causes of racism.
It’s as if, when we get rid of illegal drug trafficking and decriminalize drugs, then Black men will no longer be disproportionately imprisoned and they will be welcomed into their choice of living wage jobs. But since Paul wants to remove some of the few equalizers out there – including the DOE – and since he seems interested in curtailing the Justice Department so that it doesn’t get involved in discriminatory affairs of the workplace, it is excruciatingly obvious that he thinks very little of the economic survival of those most exploited in this country. He is only FURTHER exploiting them for political purposes.
But it’s not like poor White people are going to get much of a break either. Since he favors unrestricted business, don’t expect to make a living wage at your service job (if you are fortunate to actually get and maintain a job in the US). And if you’re not making enough to put food on the table, don’t expect any monetary assistance from the government.
Or, really, any sort of assistance…
Also, since the roads are being privatized, you’re gonna have to start paying for the privilege of traveling, too. Good luck trying to maintain those middle class buffer jobs…
War on Democracy
Democracy is more than the concept of voting for one of two or more choices. It means that all are treated as equal and each has equal access. Paul’s brand of libertarianism proposes that all rights are inherently property-based. The rights over the self begin with the acknowledgement that we are our own property and then it extends from there to whatever else we may own.
Which is nice if one has plenty of property.
Where other Republican leaders give lip service to reducing government’s involvement in the affairs of private business, RPizzle is the real gold-danged deal. His entire platform is centered on the idea of getting that old intrusive government out of the way of the Free Market hand. The Free Market, if you are not aware, is an entire religion into itself with its own priests, gods, hierarchies, sacraments, demons, theological framework, sacrifices, and mystical whimsical powers. The Hand of the Providential Free Market knows all, guides all, “frees” all.
Which is to say that the way in which businesses and financial institutions operate, when unhindered by the restrictions of governmental interference, will institute a New Morality. Wrongs will be righted. Unless they’re re-enforced, that is. And institutionalized. Corporations will have unlimited power and Joe SixPack will have little access and little say – unless he is wealthy enough to be a majority stock-holder.
This is anti-democratic. Ron Paul is advocating for an America ruled by the few for the benefit of the few.
War on the Public Welfare
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.
Gutting and phasing out of Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, financial aid, food stamps, housing assistance…
For someone who expressly runs on the idea that he can guarantee the salvation of the Constitution of the USofA, Paul sure likes to play loose with some of the actual Constitution. I know there’s some debate about the actual “general Welfare” clause, but it doesn’t mean that roads should be privatized.
In fact, Paul argued with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that Medicare is unconstitutional and that only extreme liberals/Democrats argue otherwise, disregarding the fact that it’s regarded precedence.
I propose we find another anti-war candidate to get across anti-war ideas. Preferably, one who is not trying to start several other wars…