Editor’s introduction: I invited Kevin, a longtime political friend in Boulder, to write this rebuttal after he left a few great comments regarding my original post. I see little credit from him for this invitation, or elephant’s tolerance, nay enthusiasm for respectful debate, but I’ll let that pass (smiley face emoticon). I took great pains to make clear how much I personally respect and admire Dr. Paul—and for that very reason have taken a close look at him. Many of his views are idealistic, or pure, and attractively so. But many of them, such as getting rid of federal protections for the right to a safe, legal abortion, or safety nets, are unkind on a gross level. In any case, he’s the only Republican candidate elephant would endorse, this time round—Huntsman we like, too, for very different reasons—but Paul is a breath of fresh air in those debates, many of which I’ve watched in their entirety. It’s good theater. ~ Waylon Lewis, ed.
Considering that the last few months have been a dream come true for “Liberty activists,” you can probably imagine our dismay when we come across articles entitled “20 Reasons I won’t Vote for Ron Paul.”
The following is my quick attempt to counter what I might call “20 Misconceptions About Ron Paul.” These are complex issues that each deserve a much more thorough treatment, so please excuse if my responses are a bit cursory or insufficiently referenced.
1. He’s anti-gay marriage (supports the Defense of Marriage Act)
Response: Ron Paul argues that marriage should not be regulated by governments. True to this – and to his philosophy that voluntary consenting adults should be able to do what they like – he voted against the 2006 Marriage Protection Act (a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage).
2. He’s a young earth creationist
Response: I don’t really understand how people justify this religious view, but it is their right. Ron Paul has proven throughout his 30 year political career that he believes religion is a personal matter that should not be flaunted to the public, much less legislated.
3. He’s a climate change denier
Response: More accurately, Ron Paul has said that climate change is used as a tool to promote big government and to protect corporate interests. The EPA and the proposed cap-and-trade plans both give special protections to polluters. In a free market, private property owners would often have more recourse against pollution because the EPA would not be able to grant liability limits (as in the case of BP) or pollution rights (as in the case of many major air polluters).
4. He believes that America, founded on principles of freedom of worship by many less-than-Christian framers, is a Christian country.
Response: See response 2.
5. Worse, he believes that separation of church and state is a myth
Response: See response 2.
6. He is against net neutrality (you know, liberty online)
Response: Net neutrality is quite the opposite of “liberty online.” It is Federal regulation – of a non-existent problem, I might add – that dangerously opens the door to censorship (something the Feds have proven interest in, can anyone say SOPA?).
7. He believes the civil rights act had a negative impact on the country
Response: Sometimes allowing free speech and private property rights has uncomfortable consequences, but these inconveniences do not diminish the importance of such rights to the maintenance of a free society. Title IV of the Civil Rights Act clearly violates private property rights and is thus imperfect, though Ron Paul has never sought to repeal it.
8. His stance on safety-nets (none, please)
Response: Though Ron Paul would like to move toward more personal responsibility, he has consistently said that he would fight to keep safety nets for those who have become dependent upon them. His proposed trillion dollars in cuts for the Federal government do not touch Student Loans, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. See an article here on how Ron Paul plans to restore America.
9. His stance on student aid (do away with it)
Response: See response 8.
10. His stance on health care (including Medicare, Medicaid)
Response: See response 8.
11. His stance on abortion (goodbye, Roe v. Wade)
Response: Due to his religious beliefs, Ron Paul does not support abortion. However, he also does not support its unconstitutional regulation at the Federal level. Being that the States are actively moving on personhood legislation (and fortunately losing), Roe v. Wade is largely irrelevant.
12. He would shutter the EPA (goodbye environmental health regulations, hello toxic daily life for our children)
Response: Private property rights, local governments and charities are far better protectors of the environment that the bought and sold EPA. See response 3.
13. His stance on Social Security (a hindrance to freedom)
Response: See response 8.
14. His stance on taxes on the super-rich (no, thank you)
Response: Ron Paul believes that individuals and local governments are better stewards of our hard earned money than are the corrupt and inefficient Federal bureaucracies. Therefore, he wants to reduce overall spending and taxes across the board.
15. His stance on financial regulations (none, please)
Response: Again, Ron Paul would like to move in that direction, but is not proposing the abolition of the SEC. He would take action to eliminate the cronyism and bailout cultures that have consumed almost all of D.C. (present administration included).
16. His lack of support for renewable energy
Response: As many Elephant readers know all-to-well, total Federal energy subsidies grossly favor fossil fuels over renewables. If Ron Paul were able to abolish the wasteful Department of Energy (one of 5 departments he’d like to see devolved back to the state level), the energy market would be far more dynamic, more prosperous and more favorable to renewables.
17. He would close the Department of Education
Response: The Department of Education is the epitome of a failed bureaucracy. Since its inception, education spending has skyrocketed while performance has actually decreased. History has quite clearly proven that state and local governments do a better job of administering education when unfettered by Federal bureaucrats.
18. He wouldn’t be able to bring the troops home: “Closing bases and withdrawing troops is an expensive process, and the DoD isn’t going to get very far if Congress forbids them from spending any money on it. It’s the exact same problem that prevented Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay.”
Response: This is the one unilateral authority that the executive branch does have. Obama didn’t close Guantanamo Bay because he doesn’t want to close Guantanamo Bay (see the recent revelation that it was the Obama administration that asked for the power to indefinitely detain American citizens:
19. He signed the Pro-Life Presidential pledge, which includes a vow to only nominate pro-life judges to the Court. Generally, serious presidential candidates should refuse to sign all pledges, since they remove the rights of citizens in a democracy to see their wishes represented, and make their reps beholden to outside interests.
Response: See response 11.
20. Given his ground game, he’d be tough for President Obama to beat. Not too tough, but tough. I’d rather Obama get to bat around damaged-goods Newt or boring 1%er Mitt.
Response: No argument here.
Kevin Hotaling is a District Captain with the Boulder County GOP, a Precinct Leader for the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign, and Assistant Organizer of the Boulder Campaign for Liberty. These are volunteer positions and the views expressed above are the solely representative of the author’s opinion.