Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ron Paul: the Record Against

It's important to remember that Ron Paul is NOT a Libertarian, despite his life membership (pay once, never pay again) and his 1988 Presidential run.

His stance on abortion is, of course, debatable- there are Libertarians on both sides of that issue. His stance on immigration is rather less so- despite a vocal minority, the right of people to travel and migrate freely is a Libertarian cornerstone from the founding of the party.

But there are a number of other things Ron Paul advocates that run counter to the spirit of liberty. I mentioned one such item in my last Ron Paul post, as part of a list of corn-flake positions he holds in his campaign platform: he wants to end birthright citizenship. That means being born here, according to Paul, will no longer be sufficient to make you a citizen. One can only wonder if that is meant to be retroactive.

In this post I'm going to avoid items which, although ludicrous and politically embarassing (gold standard, conspiracy theory, anti-UN), are not in direct opposition to Libertarian thought. (In some cases such things run along with Libertarian thought- and in such cases Libertarians need to think again.) I'm going to focus ONLY on those things Ron Paul has tried to get enacted which would reduce freedom, liberty and equality under the law for some or all citizens.

1. Ron Paul wants to eliminate the power of the Judiciary to strike down unconstitutional laws.

In his "Sanctity of Life Act", currently HR 2597, HR 776 in the previous Congress, Ron Paul proposes that Congress strip the federal courts of any power to rule on any issue related to abortion or to the proposition that life begins at conception. Furthermore, he would strip away all federal court precedents on those issues and prohibit the federal courts from overruling state courts. This is not a recent development: Ron Paul has tried to strip court power regarding abortion since 1976, when he first entered Congress.

(Incidentally, the above bill makes a lie about his claim that he favors giving the states power to decide the legality of abortion. Although the bill gives states "the authority to protect lives of unborn children residing in the jurisdiction of that State," it does NOT give states the option of keeping abortion legal- making it clear that, by Federal law, abortion is murder.)

Nor has Ron Paul restricted his efforts to blocking the courts on abortion. His "We the People Act", HR 300, would prohibit the courts from ruling on, and repeal all Federal precedents regarding, the Constitutionality of any law related to:

any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion;

(B) any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or

(C) any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation...

That means Ron Paul wants the states to be able to mandate or establish religious practices; to ban sexual practices, including homosexuality, masturbation, adultery, or even out-of-wedlock sex; and to discriminate against homosexuals. Furthermore, he wants to strip religious and sexual minorities of their ability to seek redress for discrimination in the federal courts. What's more, he's tried to do this in the past three Congresses.

The fundamental point here is this: Ron Paul is trying to use Congress to bypass the courts, and the Constitution... and the rights of individuals. If Congress has the right and power to prohibit the federal courts from ruling laws on abortion, religion or sexuality unconstitutional, why should they not be able to remove that power for ANY AND ALL issues? What power would the courts retain to rein in unconstitutional acts of Congress, the President, or the States? NONE- and that's just the way Ron Paul wants it.

2. Ron Paul opposes religious freedom.

Remember the "We the People" act above? Before that, Ron Paul tried the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act", last submitted as HR 1547 in 2003. The foundation of this law is the premise that the First Amendment does not separate Church and State; it merely prohibits government from mandating any specific sect's ceremonies. In the abstract government may promote religion in general- and, based on the following quote, we can be assured Ron Paul believes only Christianity should be allowed in America:

Justice Joseph Story, considered the Father of American Jurisprudence, stated in his Commentaries on the Constitution: `The real object of the [First A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohometanism [sp], or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy [a denominational council] the exclusive patronage of the national government. (Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States [Boston; Hilliard, Gray and Company, 1833], p. 728, par. 1871.)

To this end, Ron Paul wants to prohibit federal courts from hearing any case concerning religious freedom issues- period. He wants to give both the state and federal government full power to exercise religious discrimination and to mandate religious practices... and strip away the power of the individual to seek redress in the courts.

Ron Paul, apparently, wants religious freedom for himself and his friends to push their religion on you- but don't want you to have freedom FROM religion, or freedom to pursue an unpopular religion.

3. Ron Paul opposes free speech.

Specifically, burning or otherwise desecrating the American flag, as per his proposal for an amendment to the Constitution, HJ 82 back in 1997. The only difference between his version and the more standard version is that Ron Paul would allow the states to declare it illegal, rather than making it illegal as part of the Constitution itself. To be blunt, this is a distinction without a difference, especially when you consider that the 14th Amendment guarantees ALL the rights of American citizenship to citizens of ALL the states; no state is allowed to infringe upon those rights.

4. Ron Paul is an imperialist.

Ron Paul may be opposed to the occupation of Iraq, and he may claim to call for the withdrawal of all troops back to American soil... but he claims that the Panama Canal is unalienable American soil. Never mind that the Canal was never more than leased from Panama, Ron Paul believes we should keep it... using force if necessary.

There are other issues- quite a few others- which make Ron Paul, to me, unqualified to serve as dogcatcher, much less a Congressman or a President. These specific issues, however, plus his flirtation with white supremacist groups and his attempts to use Libertarian venues to recruit Libertarians to the Republican Party, should be more than enough to turn away even the most anarchist, anti-tax, conspiracy-believing Libertarian from the Ron Paul rEVILution.

Ron Paul is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good representative for the Libertarian Party- however you wish to interpret that phrase.

(Thanks to Dave Neiwert for the research done on his blog, Orcinus.)

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