Many people just don’t get it.
Ron Paul is a lunatic. Not only is he unelectable, he’s a completely insane reactionary walking fossil who believes among other things we should cut all public spending on education to zero.
During the 2008 elections, one of my friends mentioned he was campaigining for Obama, and I was for Giuliani at the time. I remember getting really passionate about Giuliani, and he was equally passionate about Obama. But despite our agreements, we both agreed Ron Paul was the most threatening against us.
Ron Paul’s believes in
1. Destroying free public education at all levels K-12 and beyond (i.e. abolish the dept. of education, arguing that all education should be a profit-driven business venture, advocating home-schooling, opposing all public spending initiatives, eroding funding by eliminating taxes on business elites and the wealthy).
According to Paul’s “free” market fundamentalism, education should be treated just like a luxury item, an iPhone for instance, and purchased only if one’s parents have enough money to afford it. On his view, education and human development are not ends in themselves; they are mere means for someone to earn profits from those who have enough money to pay for it. For Ron Paul, education isn’t an important institution for a democratic society, he believes that education is just another commodity to be bought and sold on markets for a profit.
Wait, you may say, what if someone’s parents don’t earn enough to pay out of pocket for their schooling? Ron Paul’s answer is ‘tough luck’, education is not to be run democratically. Ron Paul has argued that “parents have the right to spend their money on the school they deem appropriate for their children”, which translates to: students’ access to education ought to be directly proportional to how much money their parents have.
Ron Paul has made a big deal out of his position, also held and supported by Reagan, that the Dept of Education should be abolished. Notice that abolishing the Dept of Education would also mean abolishing Pell Grants and Stafford Loans and all Federal Financial Aid for college students, a major reason why hundreds of thousands of students can afford to attend college. Under the guise of ‘federalism’ and ‘states rights’, Ron Paul pushes for policies that dismantle and undermine (rather than reform and help fix) the institution of public education.
Ron Paul is a long-time supporter of home-schooling and has long argued that taxation (the source of funding for the institution of public education) is tantamount to theft. Thus, Ron Paul is an enemy of the very idea of public education.
Most advocates of education acknowledge that public schools are under-funded and teachers are viciously under-paid and under-appreciated. The regressive system of using property taxes from surrounding areas to fund most schools leaves students in poor neighborhoods with scant resources, rotting infrastructure and an unfair restriction on their capacity to learn and become educated. Again, Ron Paul’s position, is ‘tough luck, unless you’re parents have money”.
Any supporter of public education agrees that No Child Left Behind is a horrible program, but it hardly follows from this that *any* form of federal aid to public schools around the nation is therefore horrible. Just about all advocates of the public school system oppose NCLB, but next to none of them are on board with Ron Paul’s stone-age, home-school-yourself, anti-public school mantra.
2. Associating himself with rabid racists, holding views tantamount to racism and making racist remarks such as “If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.” Paul was also part of a racist newsletter which printed statements such as, “only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions” and “I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
Another one of Ron Paul’s newsletters “The Ron Paul Political Report”, published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year, claimed that “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. At another part of the newsletter, we learn that the riots were actually the result of “”‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.”
In early 1990, another Ron Paul newsletter, “The Ron Paul Survival Report” had a special issue on the “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.”
Paul’s Newsletter also had many kind words for former KKK leader David Duke, claiming that “our priority should be to take the anti-government, anti-tax, anti-crime, anti-welfare loafers, anti-race privilege, anti-foreign meddling message of Duke, and enclose it in a more consistent package of freedom.”
Ron Paul has argued on many occasions (most recently on “Meet The Press”) that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a MISTAKE which “reduced individual liberties.” Paul has made it absolutely clear that he would have voted against the bill had been in office at that time, a convenient position for a crusty old racist white man to take, having never lived under the oppression of Jim Crow.
On the topic of slavery, Ron Paul believes that it was a crime that the federal government actually ‘stole’ the private property of slave owners because of emancipation. On his view, slaves should have been * purchased * out of slavery. The thought of ‘compensating’ a class of whites responsible for designating human beings as property is absolutely absurd. Note also that Paul is a longstanding supporter of the Confederacy and has argued on several occasions in favor of secession.
This reactionary view is not simply an anomaly to the rest of Paul’s beliefs, but rather, a long standing part of his hate-filled racist politics.
Feel free, if you are skeptical that he’s actually this racist, to read these newsletters for yourself. They were published in full on the New Republic’s website, against the wishes of the Ron Paul 2008 campaign who had been suppressing them. The ‘campaign’ had previously claimed that they were ‘planning to release them’ but never got around to it. Not hard to see why.
3. Staunchly opposing universal health care (national health insurance) and in favor of beefing up a putrid for-profit system that rakes in billions of dollars for its super-wealthy ownership while nearly 50 million Americans remained uninsured. As is well known, even for many of those who are insured in our country, the possibility of being denied care, suddenly dropped, pushed around by corporate bureaucrats or drowned in extremely costly co-pays and premiums is a perpetual threat.
As of 2007, health bills were the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. The US Healthcare system ranks 37th worldwide. Meanwhile, our fabulously profitable health insurance corporations ration health care in order to get richer. For instance, check out how much the health insurance industry profits from its exploitative racket: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2007/industries/Health_Care_Insurance_Managed_Care/1.html
Ron Paul sees no problem with these facts, and absurdly, argues that if we’d just give the private insurance corporations more ‘freedom’, only then could they show their truly amicable intentions and our whole health-care situation would be puppy-dogs and ice-cream. The reason for such a backward position, stems from the fact that Ron Paul doesn’t understand economics: the incentives in place with marketized health insurance push towards less coverage and less care, which means that further deregulation will magnify the systemic problems already harming society.
The criteria for the allocation of health insurance should be need, not how much a for-profit firm stands to gain financially from insuring an individual.
Like education, however, Ron Paul believes that access to life-saving health care is best thought of as a commodity, to be thrown out into market forces and made available only to those who can afford it. The health and well-being of Americans as such are of no concern to Ron Paul; his priority, above all else, is to have bare-knuckles capitalism and private ownership of vital social institutions.
Simply put, Ron Paul believes that democracy is always the problem and markets are always the solution, in other words, he fervently believes that power belongs in the pocketbook and not at the polling station.
4. Abolishing student financial aid. Ron Paul wants to worsen America’s student debt crisis by further gutting (I say ‘further gutting’ because Bush and his GOP congress, with Ron Paul’s vote, made punishing cuts in 2005) programs like Pell Grants and Stafford Loans and giving even more of the student loan system over to a (corrupt, as we’ve seen from recent revelations) billion-dollar for-profit industry. Rather than run student aid democratically, Ron Paul wants it to be an industry run by opportunistic capitalists.
The answer to the student debt crisis, according to Paul, is to slice and dice all social spending on higher education and give the whole system over (i.e. privatize it) to huge corporate banks that will run the use student loans to extract profits from needy students. Remember, according to Ron Paul education isn’t an end in itself or a vital social institution, it is rather to be thought of like any other mundane commodity (e.g. frosted wheats) and bought and traded as such.
Your parents can’t afford to pay for college out of pocket? Ron Paul blames you (not an unjust system in which access to education is restricted by social status) for not taking ‘personal responsibility’.
5. Destroying the environment: in the 109th Congress alone, Ron Paul voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to shield oil companies from MTBE contamination lawsuits, he voted against increasing gas mileage standards, in favor of allowing new offshore drilling, and he also voted to stop making oil companies pay royalties to the government for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
For Ron Paul, any law which restricts the behavior of business elites to maximize profits is a bad law, no matter what these businesses are doing to humanity or the planet. When it comes to the choice of either creating a sustainable society built around the ideas of human and environmental health, or instead of encouraging the uninhibited pursuit of profits ad infinitum, Ron Paul is in every case a staunch partisan of the latter. He has openly admitted on many occasions that a “solid respect for property rights will make for a healthy environment.”
Most sane people, however, fail to see how giving Exxon-Mobil and Monsanto (companies with a track-record of environmental destruction) more leeway to do whatever they please makes for a healthy anything.
None of this should be surprising, however, since Ron Paul holds the quasi-religious conviction that markets and concentrated private ownership will always produce ideal outcomes, come hell or high water.
6. Supporting anti-choice laws and stripping women of reproductive rights. Ron Paul preaches a good deal about ‘letting the states decide’ on abortion, however, as a Congressman he has attempted to ban abortion at the federal level (Sanctity of Life Act). Furthermore, the ‘states rights’ position on this issue is nothing other than a smokescreen for anti-choicers’ to weaken legal and safe access to abortion. Paul would do well to actually come out and tell the truth about his stance on abortion, and stop trying to sugar-coat his anti-Roe v. Wade position. “States rights” doesn’t begin to give an answer to the difficult political questions that abortion creates, it only gives a quick-and-dirty means of shutting off discussion and sneaking in ways of dismantling legal, safe access to abortion.
But don’t bother thinking for yourself on this issue… just repeat ‘states rights’ incessantly. “States Rights” is , of course, that time-honored smokescreen used by reactionaries and racists in throughout history to defend such noble institutions as slavery and Jim Crow. I’m sure that folks who wrote for the “Ron Paul Political Report” happily invoked this well-worn trope in full knowledge of its racist, extremist past.
7. Supporting and espousing homophobic and anti-gay politics. Ron Paul wrote a bill called the “Family Protection Act” that starts with abolishing the Department of Education and ends with “Prohibits the expenditure of Federal funds to any organization which presents male or female homosexuality as an acceptable alternative life style or which suggest that it can be an acceptable life style.”
In 1990, a “Ron Paul Political Report” newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.” In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.” When Marvin Liebman, a founder of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom and a longtime political activist, announced that he was gay in the pages of National Review, a Paul newsletter implored, “Bring Back the Closet!” Surprisingly, one item expressed ambivalence about the contentious issue of gays in the military, but ultimately concluded, “Homosexuals, if admitted, should be put in a special category and not allowed in close physical contact with heterosexuals.”
8. Opposing Church-State Separation: From keeping “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to co-sponsoring the school prayer amendment to keeping the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, this “strict constitutionalist” isn’t a big fan of the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state. He will tow the ‘states rights’ line here as well, but make no mistake about his support for allowing religious conservatives to demolish state/church separation (Read the bill he sponsored, the frightening “We The People Act”). Paul also believes the Constitution is “replete with references to God” even though it makes none whatsoever… so much for his billing as a ‘Constitutionalist’.
We should also take note that Ron Paul has made clear on several occasions that he DOES NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION (watch the hilarious YouTubes of him proclaiming this!). I’m not so sure how I would feel having a doctor operate on me that believed I was ‘intelligently designed.’
9. Supports the repeal of public programming like NPR, PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. These are examples of the terrors of “big government”, according to Paul.
Yet, for all the vitriol he may (or may not) spew at ‘news’ outlets like Fox News, big corporate cable media is precisely what Paul’s cherished capitalist markets create. Fox News isn’t about good journalism, it is the paradigm of commodified, profit-obsessed, tabloid-quality entertainment which is the product of an industry set up to make the most money possible.
Listen or watch the BBC, NPR, PBS, etc. and then compare them to FOX, CNN and MSNBC… they’re not in the same league… they’re not even playing the same sport!
For all his hatred of the “MSM”… Ron Paul’s policies are precisely the music that the owners of those huge corporate institutions want to hear: markets, profits, freedom for big business!
10. Supporting xenophobic anti-immigrant policy. This is where Ron Paul’s white sypremacist tendencies are most pronounced. This is also another issue (the others being his racist and anti-gay views) where Ron Paul draws staunch support from hate-filled groups such as Neo-Nazis, The National Alliance and the Minutemen. David Duke endorses Ron Paul’s immigration positions.
According to Ron Paul, immigrants, even those who have lived here for decades, aren’t human beings… according to his politics immigrants are ‘aliens’ who must be expelled from our society. According to this logic, we should not try to make legal immigration less absurd and exclusive, we should not try to include the ranks of undocumented workers in our society. For Ron Paul, the answer is that we should block immigrants and halt the ‘contamination’ of our society. For Paul, the answer is that we should punish the U.S.-born children of undocumented workers by denying them access to education. This isn’t about ‘following the law’… this is about thwarting any legal or political changes that might allow Mexican workers to come to the U.S. legally and safely.
Nationalism, like Ron Paul, is a disease.
11. Opposing every single gain that the Labor Movement has made this century. Ron Paul is against worker’s rights, workplace democracy and virulently opposed to workers organizing themselves against exploitative employers (Ron Paul has consistently voted against stopping employer interference in union organizing and he opposes the Employee Free Choice Act.) Note also that from Ron Paul’s libertarian perspective, workers are nothing other than exchangeable commodities, not human beings who depend on the wages they earn from their labor to live on. According to free-market orthodoxy, labor laws establishing 40 hr work weeks and workdays, overtime compensation, protecting workers from occupational hazards, the right for workers to organize, etc are all “rigidities” which disrupt ownership’s ability to maximize profits most effectively. If it weren’t for regulation of business we wouldn’t have labor laws prohibiting unsafe work environments and ending child labor… of course these things were both popular during Ron Paul’s favored period of American history: The Gilded Age.
12. Favoring the abolishment of the minimum wage altogether (a standard libertarian belief.) Let me repeat this one more time: RON PAUL THINKS WE SHOULD ABOLISH THE MINIMUM WAGE ALTOGETHER. Remember, according to this logic we need to let business owners/management push wages as low as they want because to do otherwise is for democracy to lay its dirty hands on the immaculate ‘free market’. The minimum wage was created to forbid greedy employers from paying their most desperate and needy workers poverty wages.
For Ron Paul, this is a tyrannical law because it takes freedoms away from capitalists to pay their workers poverty wages in the pursuit of profit-maximization. However, the fact of the matter is that no hard-working human being EVER deserves to have worked 40 hours a week for a pay check that cannot meet their most basic human needs. Ron Paul opposes the minimum wage because it doesn’t allow profit-hungry businesses to make wages LOW ENOUGH. Talk about having the wrong priorities.
13. Destroying the graduated income tax and shifting the burden of social responsibility off of the wealthy and disproportionately onto the shoulders of the working and middle classes. On Ron Paul’s view, it’s ‘communistic and against liberty’ for Warren Buffet to be expected to pay more in taxes than someone working two jobs earning less than $20,000/year.
For Ron Paul, its no matter that social polarization (the increasing of income/wealth inequality) is rising to alarming levels, just let markets keep working their magic. Social solidarity, democratic responsibility, civic community and equality of freedom are not values that Ron Paul believes in. He consistently aims to encourage and insulate the greediest, most anti-social and avaricious among us: in the name of ‘free’ markets.
14. Repealing the most effective and popular social program in our nation’s history, Social Security. He also favors trashing Medicaid, Medicare, and every other social program put in place since the New Deal… he also probably thinks that Public Libraries are ‘communistic institutions’ and that if you cannot afford a book, you should just take personal responsibility and go out and buy it yourself (or write one yourself and then read it yourself.) Oh, the collectivist horror of making books available to everyone free of charge so that they can read! How dare they bring men with guns to ‘steal’ my tax dollars in order to fund public services like libraries! Outrage!
15. Spearheading pork-projects totaling in the billions for his district by means of earmarks. Ron Paul does not deny this, however, claims that the money ‘has to be spent somewhere’ and thus might as well be spent on his district. I guess spending that money on things like healthcare and education are atrocious violations of our freedom and tantamount to authoritarianism, but its no big thing if Ron Paul siphons billions of tax dollars to fund projects for his district in Texas.
Yes, Ron Paul is against the Iraq War, and so are Pat Buchanan and David Duke (a major supporter of Ron Paul, incidentally). The fact that he is against the Iraq war alone isn’t enough to actually make the guy worth a second look. His non-interventionist (i.e. Paleo-Conservative isolationist) position on Iraq cannot be a compelling reason to suspend judgment about the lunacy of his other positions.
“But he’s consistent throughout his whole career!” They will say. Yes, we agree, but since when is being consistently wrong about everything that matters a good thing?