Ron Paul, R.I.P.
No, Ron Paul hasn't died. But the news continues to piss me off today. I had been prepared to acknowledge that when he's good, Ron Paul can be very good. In fairness, this articleis good.
However. A friend draws my attention to Paul's article praising the Texas GOP platform, which Paul says"is serious about reducing the size and scope of government." And he says the Texas party platform"is similarly bold when it comes to terrorism, civil liberties, and privacy." And he says...blahblahblah.
But here's one big giveaway:"It urges a return to truly republican government, based on limited federal powers and states rights." I just love it when libertarians can find that states have"rights." Why should individual states have"rights," but not the federal government? Isn't the federal government just a bigger state? Somehow, non-thinkers like Paul never seem to have time to address that tiny little problem in their"logic."
My friend also provided the link to Paul's wondrous Texas GOP platform. Well, let's see now. What else might there be in that platform, that Paul just didn't have room to discuss in his little paean of praise? There's this:
We believe that human life is sacred, created in the image of God. Life begins at the moment of fertilization and ends at the point of natural death. All innocent human life must be protected.Guess that means abortion, even in the first trimester, and abortion-providers ought to be criminalized. Good one, Ron!
A bit closer to home for me, as a gay man, is this provision:
We believe that traditional marriage is a legal and moral commitment between a natural man and a natural woman. We recognize that the family is the foundational unit of a healthy society and consists of those related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The family is responsible for its own welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property."A natural man" and"a natural woman." Sounds like bad news for transgendered people. But, you might be thinking, that's not so bad. Just the usual Republican theocratic mumbo-jumbo.
But ah, my friends, that is only the Preamble to the wondrous document that is the Texas RepubliGod platform. I'm having all kinds of trouble with the Adobe Acrobat version of the entire platform, and even with the HTML version of it via Google. But here's an article which sets forth the relevant parts -- which somehow Paul didn't think deserving of mention:
“The Ten Commandments are the basis of our basic freedoms and the cornerstone of our Western legal tradition. We therefore oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols.”The entire article has even more, but that's enough to give you the idea. And it's all I can take.
No, it’s not a passage from a sermon at your local Southern Baptist Church, but it could be. Instead, it is a statement from the Texas Republican Party Platform. This document, adopted at the GOP state party convention in early June, is inundated with references to God and religion. And while issues of separation of church and state were tossed out prior to the first “Four More Years” button ever being attached to a polyester, red, white and blue vest, GLBT rights were soon to follow.
The only word in the Texas Republican Platform repeated as often as the word “God” is the word “Homosexual.” And, of course, while any passage referring to a deity is written with the utmost of reverence and respect, the exact opposite is true for any dealing with non-heterosexuals. In fact, the utter contempt with which the state party holds gays and lesbians leaves one feeling they have just emerged from a good old fashioned, barn-burning, tie-them-to-a-fence-and-leave-them-to-the-vultures gay bashing. ...
Marriage receives the full attention of the state party in a rambling diatribe that leaves no room for guessing about where Texas is headed with regard to the subject of marriage equality.
“The Party supports the traditional definition of marriage as a God–ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and the Party opposes the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call on the President, Congress, and the Texas Legislature to take immediate action to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage. We urge Congress to exercise authority under the United States Constitution, and pass legislation withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the traditional definition of marriage. We further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman. Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse. We oppose the recognition of and granting of benefits to people who represent themselves as domestic partners without being legally married. Texas families will be stronger because of the passage by Governor Perry and the 78th Texas Legislature of the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’, which denies recognition by Texas of homosexual ‘unions’ legitimized by other states or nations. We urge the repeal of laws that place an unfair tax burden on families. We call upon Congress to completely remove the marriage penalty in the tax code, whereby a married couple receives a smaller standard deduction than their unmarried counterparts living together. The primary family unit consists of those related by blood, heterosexual marriage, or adoption.”
The Republicans leave no stone unturned with regard to marriage. Texans shouldn’t expect the mayor of a local city to follow the lead of the San Francisco mayor by standing up to the party in power to issue marriage licenses any time soon.
“The Party supports legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple.”
And just when it seems the obsession with the lives of gays and lesbians has reached its ultimate height, the Grand Old Party of Texas created an entire section devoted to homosexuality in general.
“The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should ‘family’ be redefined to include homosexual ‘couples.’ We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”
And remember the joyous rallies held last June when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Texas Sodomy Law? They have an answer for that occasion, too…checks and balances be damned.
“The Party opposes the legalization of sodomy. The Party demands Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.”
Marriage, Hate Crimes, Sodomy Laws, and Homosexuality in general…Is it over yet? Not by a long shot. Texas Republicans are very thorough. There are entire paragraphs (long ones) devoted to Adoption, Sex Education, the Military, and last, but not least, the Americans with Disabilities Act. ...
Texas Republicans support the military. It consists of brave and patriotic Americans. But in support of the armed forces they recommend some standard criteria to be followed by the Commander-in-Chief. There are exactly 15 items on this list of criteria. Items numbered two, three and four, respectively, are…the disqualification of homosexuals from military service; the immediate discharge of HIV positive individuals from service; and the exclusion of women from combat roles.
So, even though Paul can be good on certain limited issues having to do with the"War on Terror" and civil liberties, apparently privacy goes only so far -- and it definitely does not include private acts between consenting adults, if those acts happen to be disapproved by the God in whom Paul and the Texas GOP believe. To say nothing of the other horrors described above.
Therefore, I say to Ron Paul: I can do very well without"friends" like you. Rest in peace.
You're dead to me, now and forever.
(Cross-posted at The Light of Reason.)
mind slight - 5/8/2007
Yes, the federal government can be considered just a larger state, _larger_ being the key word. Libertarians champion states' rights for the following reasons:
1. this is what our country was founded on, and what the constitution specifies. this hasn't changed, only court rulings that have pretty much ignored the wishes of our founding fathers by interpreting the constitution to place little restriction on the government
2. more pragmatically, a smaller governing body means more direct representation. if people don't like certain laws, or taxes are too high, it is much easier for them to move to the next state over and still be able to easily drive to visit family friends etc, rather than having to move countries. competition among the state governments should keep them more honest. would individual states choose to wage drug wars on their own?
I believe abortion should be legal. Ron Paul doesn't. But more importantly, Ron Paul believes it is a state issue (look at his federal voting record with this in mind). Now sure, this is going to cause problems for mothers who can't carry babies in states that don't allow abortion. But look at it this way - they can go to a neighboring state. If no states were to allow abortion, what makes you think that it would continue to be legal at the federal level? By a simple bound, if it doesn't have the support in at least one state, it's not going to have the support in the nation as a whole.
(disclaimer: i'm really not up on the widespread legal status of gay marriage) Think about if the FMA had passed. Gay marriage would be illegal everywhere in the US. The individual states could do nothing about it. Now sure, in most places it is not allowed. But right now you can come to MA and get married (i believe). When (if) you return to your home state, the marriage may or may not be recognized by various bodies (state, insurance, etc), but it's a step in the right direction, and progress is slow.
I can't tell you that if Ron Paul were elected, he would champion gay rights, abortion, and all these other conservative value causes. However, I can tell you for sure that he would not be making laws to set these causes back, and the states would be free to proceed as they wished. Widespread change comes gradually through isolated chunks of change, trying to force the issues will only make you shoot yourself in the foot with the backlash.
Arthur Silber - 9/1/2004
And after all his talk about "states' rights," Paul ended up voting FOR the FEDERAL Partial Birth Abortion Act. It appears that when God enters the picture, He trumps everything else.
Perhaps a bit theocratic? We select, we slant, you decide...:>))) (More details on that in the comments at my place...)
John Arthur Shaffer - 9/1/2004
The National GOP platform is nearly as bad as the Texas one. I know these platforms aren't worth the paper they're written on either. The religious right seems to be happy with its control over this writing process, unconcerned that the Convention is simply a prime time display of Rockefeller Republicans.
However, Paul went out of his way to highlight how this document exemplies a return to limited government. Yet, when one realizes what this platform entails, only a massive police state could enforce its total abortion ban (at the moment of conception) or sodomy laws.
He could have made a point that the social aspects of this paper are contrary in many ways to freedom.
Roderick T. Long - 9/1/2004
That second URL is screwed up -- the #07 should be part of it.
Roderick T. Long - 9/1/2004
Paul's views are not identical with the Texas GOP platform, though I agree that he is too complacent about that platform.
As I interpret the following article:
Paul is against a federal ban on gay marriage, would ideally like to see marriage out of government's ambit entirely, but in the meantime favours leaving gay marriage up to the states to decide. I think his support for "states' rights" is essentially strategic; he thinks the prospects for liberty are better when as many issues as possible are left to 50 competing states instead of one central federal govt. I think he's to some extent wrong about that, for reasons I explain here:
On abortion, I do know that although he is opposed to abortion, in the past he has defended morning-after pills like RU486 as an *alternative* to abortion -- which shows that he at least must disagree with the claim that human moral status begins at *conception*.
Keith Halderman - 9/1/2004
I agree with you that the fundamentalist nonsense concerning homosexuality in the Texas GOP platform is insulting garbage but I also believe Ron Paul thinks that too. I read the article and it seems to me that he is merely comparing the Texas and national platforms saying there are some good things in the Texas one that are missing from the national one. He is not holding up the Texas one a model. Can you honestly say that the GOP is any better on this marriage conflict at the national level when its head President Bush is calling for an odious constitutional amendament. Maybe his silence on the issue is Paul's way of saying both platforms suck in this regard.
Steven Horwitz - 9/1/2004
It's okay Arthur - you can give up on him. I did a long time ago for just the same reasons. Great post.
Arthur Silber - 8/31/2004
Someone over at my place (link at the end of the post here) made a very interesting comment about this, to the effect that Paul might be in exactly the right place -- in the federal government, and not at the state level. And he says that perhaps I shouldn't give up on him yet. So I'm thinking it over...:>)) Anyway, worth checking out his thoughts if you have a chance.
John Arthur Shaffer - 8/31/2004
The Republican party will inevitably crack up. There is simply no foundation anymore. Paul is a throwback to Goldwater conservatism (although Barry was a social liberal) and the Republican party is now a party of big government, war without end, and corporate cronyism. An uneasy marriage between economic conservatives and theocrats is heading towards a nasty divorce.