Thursday :: Dec 27, 2007

Ron Paul really is nuts!

by Turkana

Because he is against the war, even some Democrats and liberals support Ron Paul's candidacy for the White House. If he ends up running as an independent, some may even seriously consider voting for him. That's because they're not taking a close look at Paul. Unfortunately, it is necessary to help some do that. Fortunately, Paul makes it easy.

First, watch some excerpts from his recent interview on Meet The Press. Talking Points Memo provides the video:

And here's the transcript, from the Meet The Press website:

MR. RUSSERT: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. "According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery."

REP. PAUL: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist..

MR. RUSSERT: We'd still have slavery.

REP. PAUL: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

Reasonable? At Edge of the West, Ari Kelman says:

There are so many things wrong with this line of argument that I don’t even know where to start. Oh wait, yes I do. Let’s begin with: Lincoln didn’t go to war to “get rid of the original intent of the republic.” You have to know even less about history than Tim Russert — I wouldn’t have thought it possible — to say such a ridiculous thing. Or you have to be a bit too willing, eager even, to marry libertarian political ideology with neo-Confederate historical revisionism. Just to be clear: Lincoln went to war to preserve the Union. That’s it. End of story. Full stop.

Also: Lincoln didn’t start the Civil War. To clarify his position throughout the 1860 campaign and well into 1861, long after he was elected president without his name having appeared on a single Southern ballot, Lincoln said that slavery shoudn’t be allowed to expand into the West — a position that was part of the Republican Party (Paul’s party) platform.

And, as Matthew Yglesias explains:

Obviously, yes, there were better ways to end slavery. That's why Abraham Lincoln didn't run on a platform that said "let's have a bloody civil war!" Rather, his idea was to prevent the expansion of slavery into new territories and try to nudge the country in the direction of compensated emancipation. The South, though, decided that rather than abide by the results of the election, they would secede from the country and establish a new herrenvolk democracy committed to slavery uber alles. They, not Lincoln, put resolution of the slavery issue through the political process out of reach.

In other words, to justify his truly jaw-dropping attitude, Paul gets history exactly backwards. But that wasn't all.

People claim that accusations of Ron Paul's racism are overblown, and are based on misquotes, or quotes taken out of context. Read this series, and judge for yourself. But also take a look at this section of his MTP interview, from the same transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about race, because I, I read a speech you gave in 2004, the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. And you said this: "Contrary to the claims of" "supporters of the Civil Rights Act of" '64, "the act did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of" '64 "increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty." That act gave equal rights to African-Americans to vote, to live, to go to lunch counters, and you seem to be criticizing it.

REP. PAUL: Well, we should do, we should do this at a federal level, at a federal lunch counter it'd be OK or for the military. Just think of how the government, you know, caused all the segregation in the military until after World War II. But when it comes, Tim, you're, you're, you're not compelled in your house to invade strangers that you don't like. So it's a property rights issue. And this idea that all private property is under the domain of the federal government I think is wrong. So this--I think even Barry Goldwater opposed that bill on the same property rights position, and that--and now this thing is totally out of control. If you happen to like to smoke a cigar, you know, the federal government's going to come down and say you're not allowed to do this.

MR. RUSSERT: But you would vote against...

REP. PAUL: So it's...

MR. RUSSERT: You would vote against the Civil Rights Act if, if it was today?

REP. PAUL: If it were written the same way, where the federal government's taken over property--has nothing to do with race relations. It just happens, Tim, that I get more support from black people today than any other Republican candidate, according to some statistics. And I have a great appeal to people who care about personal liberties and to those individuals who would like to get us out of wars. So it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights.

Uh huh. It has nothing to do with racism. It's just wrong for the federal government to protect people from it. And Paul accepts campaign contributions from white supremacists on the principle of accepting campaign contributions. From anyone.

As Kelman says:

For anyone considering voting for Ron Paul, please think again. I know that you’re fed up with the war. So am I. I know that you distrust politicians. So do I. I know that you crave change. Me too. But Ron Paul is either a lunatic, a stone-cold racist (seemingly an in-the-hip-pocket-of-the-Slaveocracy racist, which, to be fair, isn’t very different from some other prominent Republicans — see Trent Lott and his recent defenders) or both. And, by the way, what happened to supporting the troops? Calling the Civil War “senseless”; what will that do to morale?

But even if you somehow give him a pass on all of this, and cling to the belief that he's just a libertarian purist, and that it's mere coincidence that his libertarian purism continually aligns with the beliefs of racist extremists, you still have to come to terms with his shocking ignorance about history, and the petty materialism that is the bedrock of his basic values. It's not just that he has no idea what he's talking about, when he discusses the American Civil War, it's that he seems to believe property rights take precedence over anything. Including human rights. Like civil rights. If you think the Cheney-Bush brand of corporatism is cruel and dangerous, what can you think about someone who takes the ownership principle to the level of superceding basic human and civil rights?

And the disassociation from reality doesn't end with his historical revisionism. Let's just say that Ron Paul does not easily cohabit with science. From the League of Conservation Voters' Heat Is On website, watch Paul discuss global warming:

Paul not only seems to believe the reality of global warming is debatable, he also seems to believe the way to deal with it is on the state level. Now, first of all, the invocation of states' rights is bad enough, if one knows the history of what that concept really means. But Paul also doesn't seem to understand that what happens in one state can effect the climate in another. Or in another country. Or that global warming is a global problem, and that climate change cannot be contained within microclimates, much less within arbitrarily drawn political borders. As with his misunderstanding of the cause of the Civil War, Paul's ignorance is simply astounding. It's cartoonishly simplistic. Paul's a doctor, and supposedly reasonably intelligent, but the inanity of that answer makes a solid register on the Bushism scale.

Now watch this:

Note that it takes Paul mere seconds to turn a question about global warming into an answer about property rights, and even then, he's barely coherent. At best, he's a dogmatic ideologue who doesn't permit reality to interfere with his personal prejudices. Which is a polite way of saying that he's delusional.

Anyone who pays attention to science, and anyone who pays attention to the scientific consensus on global warming, knows that we need serious people to address it seriously. Ron Paul addresses it as a clown would. A not very bright amateur clown. Because Ron Paul doesn't take science seriously. Need more proof? Watch Paul discuss evolution.

The money quote:

I don’t accept it, you know, as a theory.

And the video:

People want to excuse Ron Paul as some libertarian purist, and that's fine. Let's say he is. Let's say he really isn't a racist, even though he accepts money from racist organizations. Let's say that his bizarre historical revisionism about the Civil War is innocent ignorance. Let's say that his bizarre disdain for the Civil Rights Act is a mere ideological coincidence. You still end up with a man who doesn't understand basic facts, ignores science, values material property more than people, and would be (incredible as it sounds) even worse than Bush when it comes to addressing the most important political issue ever.

Ron Paul is not some heroic gadfly, like Howard Beale, railing against the hypocrisy of our times. Ron Paul is seriously nuts. Put him in an actual position of power, and he would be dangerously nuts. And any thinking person who would actually vote for him is embarrassingly nuts!

Turkana :: 5:02 AM :: Comments (67) :: Digg It!