T Nation

Was Ron Paul America's Last Hope?


#1

If our founding fathers somehow arose from their graves and saw our current state of affairs what would they think?

-The Patriot act. This piece of legislation allows for mass Surveillance without a warrant. Law Enforcement can detain you indefinitely without due process. Edward Snowden openly addmitted that mass government surveillance never helped prevent a terrorist attack. Ben Franklin would probably have a heart attack.

-The Federal Reserve. A privately owned central bank that has the power to print money out of thin air, thus controlling inflation and interest rates. Did the coinage act disappear? If I remember correctly fiat currency is illegal and we are required by the constitution to have a gold standard. The banks continue to give out more credit than they have in savings due to 'fractional reserve banking'. They can afford to participate in bad business practices because they're too big to fail and will always get bailed out. Thomas Jefferson would probably have the honor of executing Alexander Hamilton this time around.

-undeclared wars
The president cannot go to war without deceleration from congress. There is a loophole which would allow war but no funding from congress. However even then it would be unconstitutional. We went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq undeclared. We had no business being over there. Do checks and balances even exist? James Madison wouldn't be too pleased.

IRS
The IRS is illegal plain and simple. Taxes are expected to be redistributed back in to the countries. Most of the taxes paid especially the income tax is used to pay off the principal and interest to the IOU bonds to private Banks. Some of which are international investor 'China, Russia etc' Why did we fight the british again? Was it something about being over taxed?

Ron Paul wanted to address all these issues plus more. He was a true constitutionalist, so much so that he was referred to as 'radical' when compared to other candidates. We had out chance and we blew it.


#2

I would add a few more issues:

-The “Fourth” branch of government, the Bureaucratic branch. Comprised of “agencies” (DEA, BLM, ATF, EPA, DHS, etc…) that are essentially creating “law” without due process. These laws affect businesses, private citizens, pets, and anything else you can think of - there’s a regulation for THAT! Violate the regulations (i.e. illegal “laws”) and you get to learn what civil forfeiture is. They operate via executive fiat and each has it’s own private jack booted army now. Why does the EPA, NIH, NOAA or the Library of Congress need an armed division? Who directs them? Oh yeah, the Executive Branch…

-The MEDIA. Journalism is dead. The MEDIA has become simply a source of propaganda designed to distract the public from what government is doing instead of REPORTING on what government is doing. They are no longer independent. Obviously, there are smaller news sources that piss into the wind of the MSLM, but they are dismissed as “non credible”. The Obama Administration has either “bought” or intimidated most media outlets today. The Watergate Scandal that ended the Nixon administration is NOTHING compared to what’s going on now. Journalism is done.

-The Judicial branch. As witnessed this month alone, the Judicial branch is no longer an “impartial body” that interprets the Constitution. SCOTUS has been used to decide elections, usurp the will of the public, change the definitions of language and setting precedents that would have been unheard of even just a few years ago. It has become a seat of political activism. And that’s a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM…

I’d keep going, but I have to get my work day started. Great thread. Once the issues are defined, perhaps we could begin talking about ways to turn things around. I don’t think Ron Paul is the last hope. I see a rising tide of discontent. I am hopeful that someone else will pick up that torch and carry it forward towards meaningful change.


#3

AC, here’s a page that shows how conservative Republican representatives are based on their voting record, it’s pretty dismal


#4

[quote]Justliftbrah wrote:
We went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq undeclared. [/quote]

o_O


#5

He was never any kind of hope at all, so nope.


#6

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
He was never any kind of hope at all, so nope.[/quote]

Disagree, strongly.

Paul (and to a lessor extent Rand) was and still is to a degree a culture war Blitzkrieg. He brought legitimacy to the republican party and a serious look at libertarian (little l) ideology to a large and soon to be formidable voting block, younger people.

He brought in disgruntled former democrats, rebellious teens, and a whole host of other unmeasured political misfits in to an idea. An important idea.

Yes he was batshit about a few things, but his general direction and focus, will continue to effect American politics for at least a generation. Those that underestimated his impact are those that will cling endlessly to the dying Republican (big r) party, and watch their “country” fall to pieces around them.


#7

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
He was never any kind of hope at all, so nope.[/quote]

Disagree, strongly.

Paul (and to a lessor extent Rand) was and still is to a degree a culture war Blitzkrieg. He brought legitimacy to the republican party and a serious look at libertarian (little l) ideology to a large and soon to be formidable voting block, younger people.

He brought in disgruntled former democrats, rebellious teens, and a whole host of other unmeasured political misfits in to an idea. An important idea.

Yes he was batshit about a few things, but his general direction and focus, will continue to effect American politics for at least a generation. Those that underestimated his impact are those that will cling endlessly to the dying Republican (big r) party, and watch their “country” fall to pieces around them. [/quote]

Paul was (and is) a crude troglodyte with silly and dangerous ideas. Getting naive people - which young voters typically are - interested in dangerous ideas isn’t anything we should applaud. It’s demagoguery at its worst.

I’ve said for years that far from helping libertarianism, he set it back. Instead of the face of libertarianism being a forward-looking, optimistic, socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative avatar that gets people excited about the expansion and progress of more and more liberty, we got a creepy, backwards-looking, doom-and gloom paranoiac who associated with racist and separatist groups and who had a “blame America” foreign policy outlook to the Left of Dennis Kucinich.

Libertarianism needed a bright and shiny champion for the new age and letting go of old, tired politics. Instead, it got the creepy uncle railing about “black helicopters” and conspiracies about the federal government.

That wasn’t a good development. And Rand, despite his best efforts to plead otherwise, is a nut that hasn’t fallen very far from his father’s tree.


#8

One other thing I’d add - Paul was no “constitutionalist”, and that word has been coopted and bastardized. Paul had his own view and version of the Constitution, a made-up, fanciful version that endowed the federal fvovernment with virtually no responsibilities or powers beyond that of the “night watchman” state. The Framers and early Congresses certainly had no such view of the Constitution.

Paul’s political philosophy doesn’t find its roots in Americam thought - he is far more the product of radical continental theories. As such, he isn’t “getting back” to an America that once existed so much as he is trying to import ideas that are foreign to our history.

I am reminded of that good article in Reason detailing how the United States was not founded or governed on libertarian ideas, certainly not the radical kind that Paul espouses. I will repost here.


#9

And this is why libertarianism needs someone “progressive”, for lack of a better word. Trying to “reclaim” our libertarian past - which Paulnuts try to do - isn’t going to work.


#10

There was a lot to dislike about Paul. Glad he’s off the main stage. Plenty of what Ron Paul espoused looks good on paper to some who do not understand the complexity that surround foreign affairs. But when reality sinks in we could never follow Paul’s idiotic foreign policy ideas. His simplistic answers to complex problems could be considered silly if they were not so dangerous. His isolationist tendencies are very dangerous in a modern world. He claims to want to bring everyone home from abroad in order to “make a stronger America”. WHAT?

Thank God that prior war time Presidents did not share Paul’s naïve take on foreign affairs. We’d all be speaking German or perhaps Japanese.

No, Ron Paul was never the answer and I’m glad he’s not running again.


#11

We’re arguing two different things. I’m talking in the macro, you’re focused on the micro. Note I’m not saying your particular critiques are wrong, just that I’m pulling back to look at it further than you are.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

Paul was (and is) a crude troglodyte with silly and dangerous ideas. Getting naive people - which young voters typically are - interested in dangerous ideas isn’t anything we should applaud. It’s demagoguery at its worst.[/quote]

And anyone that was to do what Bill Gates did to Jobs today, would likely end up dead in court, yet he (along with jobs) is largely seen as the messiah of personal computing and American ingenuity.

He literally created entire industries (or at least in some people’s minds) and was a rather large and untouchable thief and scumbag on the whole.

My point is, people tend to gravitate away from the bad in an influential person, and Paul, whether or not you like it, was very influential. Don’t let the vocal minority of conspiracy theory and American haters (which populate the living shit out of the left too, so there is nothing new here) drown out the vast majority that look at him as someone who didn’t really toe the “wrong lines” that the typical establishment politician does.

He was Bernie Sander’s right, except a fan of freedom over government control. Complete with the similar dark history in his writings.

I think you’re sort of deluded if you think Libertarians can actually do anything but catch a couple house seats or dominate a small town legislature.

They spend far too much time arguing who is more libertarian than who, and who can be the closest to anarchist without going full AnCap.

Then their is the problem of AnCaps…

All liberty needs is an introduction, it doesn’t need a face, spokes person or idol. It’s the truth, it speaks for itself.

Paul introduced it to millions of people who previously thought “ban what my party doesn’t like, make what I do a right” was the one true way of politics. Whether or not you like it, this happened. Whether or not you like him, he did this.

[quote] we got a creepy, backwards-looking, doom-and gloom paranoiac who associated with racist and separatist groups and who had a “blame America” foreign policy outlook to the Left of Dennis Kucinich.

Libertarianism needed a bright and shiny champion for the new age and letting go of old, tired politics. Instead, it got the creepy uncle railing about “black helicopters” and conspiracies about the federal government.

That wasn’t a good development. And Rand, despite his best efforts to plead otherwise, is a nut that hasn’t fallen very far from his father’s tree.
[/quote]

The libertarian philosophy will not likely die any time soon, and can be seen in streaks and shadows within both the major parties. The Libertarian party could have Jesus Christ himself as a spokes person and still not gather 35% of the vote.

There will be no "good developments for the Libertarian. For the libertarian however, Paul was just an imperfect messenger that “got it”. Doesn’t mean he was always right, perfect or anything of the sort. But to downplay the impact he’s had so far, and how that will manifest isn’t really looking at the big picture.

Again… He is batshit in a lot of ways, no doubt. That doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t influential, and in some ways very good.


#12

Beans,

I agree he was influential - it just wasn’t a good influence. He caricatured the concept of Liberty when it needed a better explanation.

And I actually disagree - I think libertarians could capture some seats in Congress, I really do. More and more people identify as socially liberal and fiscally conservative (SLFC). What they aren’t is anti-government to the angry degree Paul was, and yes, Paul had a part in causing this natural block of voters to never coalesce. Enough people generally like the basic concept of SLFC, but didnt want to be part of movement led by creeper and paranoiacs.

All movements need leaders and messengers if they are going to persuade others to get on board. If anything, Paul made potential SLFCers get off the train and run like Hell. There’s simply no denying he set that movement back.

Influential? Sure. Just not in a helpful way. As you note, libertarians are too busy arguing over proper taxonomy than building a possible electoral coalition. Libertarians - whatever they ultimately think - are stuck in neutral, and Paul’s impact is a reason for it. Mainstream America simply doesn’t take libertarianism seriously because the purveyors of it are, like Paul, evangelicals of a radical faith rather than selling the smarts of liberty in the 21st century.


#13

[quote] cois no ntingbeand wrote:

All liberty needs is an introduction, it doesn’t need a face, spokes person or idol. It’s the truth, it speaks for itself. [/quote]

And no offense intended, Beans, but your statement is precisely part of the problem. Political philosophy is not religion - casting it in utopian terms of deliverance doesn’t resonate with anyone, least of all young people.

“Liberty” is no god that “speaks for itself”, and dressing discussing libertarianism as a kind of evangelism is one reason why libertariams get nowhere in basic electoral politics.


#14

Woman detained FOR NOT RENEWING A DOG LICENCE…

In Kalamazoo, MI it’s punishable by 90 days in Jail and a $100 fine.

This is a prime example of what I’m talking about! On what fucking planet would a citizen agree to have his FREEDOM taken away for three months for a fucking DOG LICENCE? Seriously. That would mean a loss of job, loss of house, loss of car for most people. How on earth did these stupid draconian laws come to exist? They weren’t passed by Congress… I would classify that law as an Eighth Amendment violation. Yet these bullshit laws exist all over the country and do NOT serve the people.

It’s a downright war of the STATE against the population when it does things like this. I’m sure the “intent” of the law when it was passed (by some state agency, or by a county legislature in the form of a byline in a 1000 page bullshit law that people weren’t given time to review or debate) was to prevent some kind of dogfighting ring. Was this woman dogfighting? NO!!! But the fucking police don’t give a shit, they will just detain her “because it’s the law”. FUCK THOSE LAWS.

We need to elect representatives that will review, analyze and repeal these bullshit laws that simply empower the police to fuck with the lives of ordinary citizens. They need to leave us alone to live our lives IN PEACE. Not arrest people and detain them with criminals for a procedural oversight. It’s downright shameful. It’s a nanny state out of control. It needs to stop.


#15

[quote]ZEB wrote:
There was a lot to dislike about Paul. Glad he’s off the main stage. Plenty of what Ron Paul espoused looks good on paper to some who do not understand the complexity that surround foreign affairs. But when reality sinks in we could never follow Paul’s idiotic foreign policy ideas. His simplistic answers to complex problems could be considered silly if they were not so dangerous. His isolationist tendencies are very dangerous in a modern world. He claims to want to bring everyone home from abroad in order to “make a stronger America”. WHAT?

Thank God that prior war time Presidents did not share Paul’s naÃ??Ã?¯ve take on foreign affairs. We’d all be speaking German or perhaps Japanese.

No, Ron Paul was never the answer and I’m glad he’s not running again.

[/quote]

What are you so scared about? you should be scared of your own government rather than China, Russia, Germany etc.You think bringing American’s home from foreign bases that occupy countries without permission is a bad idea? Here’s where I question your intellect on the idea of Isolationism. Just because we’re not violating foreign countries sovereignty for the benefit of the Saudis NOT the American people, doesn’t mean we automatically become Isolationist. We can still open free trade with these countries without any embargo’s or tariffs. We would quit overthrowing foreign Democratic governments and installing our own puppets. Maybe then people won’t hate us across the world. You have such a crude understanding of foreign policy it makes me want to puke. spending trillions less on defense contractors and more on our education system (we’re ranked 34th in the world btw) and our crumbling infrastructure would build a stronger america both figuratively and literally.


#16

[quote]angry chicken wrote:
I would add a few more issues:

-The “Fourth” branch of government, the Bureaucratic branch. Comprised of “agencies” (DEA, BLM, ATF, EPA, DHS, etc…) that are essentially creating “law” without due process. These laws affect businesses, private citizens, pets, and anything else you can think of - there’s a regulation for THAT! Violate the regulations (i.e. illegal “laws”) and you get to learn what civil forfeiture is. They operate via executive fiat and each has it’s own private jack booted army now. Why does the EPA, NIH, NOAA or the Library of Congress need an armed division? Who directs them? Oh yeah, the Executive Branch…

-The MEDIA. Journalism is dead. The MEDIA has become simply a source of propaganda designed to distract the public from what government is doing instead of REPORTING on what government is doing. They are no longer independent. Obviously, there are smaller news sources that piss into the wind of the MSLM, but they are dismissed as “non credible”. The Obama Administration has either “bought” or intimidated most media outlets today. The Watergate Scandal that ended the Nixon administration is NOTHING compared to what’s going on now. Journalism is done.

-The Judicial branch. As witnessed this month alone, the Judicial branch is no longer an “impartial body” that interprets the Constitution. SCOTUS has been used to decide elections, usurp the will of the public, change the definitions of language and setting precedents that would have been unheard of even just a few years ago. It has become a seat of political activism. And that’s a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM…

I’d keep going, but I have to get my work day started. Great thread. Once the issues are defined, perhaps we could begin talking about ways to turn things around. I don’t think Ron Paul is the last hope. I see a rising tide of discontent. I am hopeful that someone else will pick up that torch and carry it forward towards meaningful change.

[/quote]

The DEA is an embarrassment to the Constitution. They are fighting a war against the american people not foreign drug pushers. They party abroad with strippers that are bought by drug cartels but god forbid if I carry an oz of natural herb. I reckon they have no accountability because instead of using the word ‘terminated or even suspended’ disciplined officials are always ‘reassigned’. They continue to hound the public with false information about drugs to ensure they don’t get shut down. This is the present day prohibition. Guess what Ron Paul wanted to do? He wanted to shut those High school educated bastards down and send them packing to find jobs at your nearest supermarkets. Doesn’t seem radical if you ask me.


#17

[quote]Justliftbrah wrote:

[quote]ZEB wrote:
There was a lot to dislike about Paul. Glad he’s off the main stage. Plenty of what Ron Paul espoused looks good on paper to some who do not understand the complexity that surround foreign affairs. But when reality sinks in we could never follow Paul’s idiotic foreign policy ideas. His simplistic answers to complex problems could be considered silly if they were not so dangerous. His isolationist tendencies are very dangerous in a modern world. He claims to want to bring everyone home from abroad in order to “make a stronger America”. WHAT?

Thank God that prior war time Presidents did not share Paul’s naÃ??Ã?¯ve take on foreign affairs. We’d all be speaking German or perhaps Japanese.

No, Ron Paul was never the answer and I’m glad he’s not running again.

[/quote]

What are you so scared about? you should be scared of your own government rather than China, Russia, Germany etc.You think bringing American’s home from foreign bases that occupy countries without permission is a bad idea? Here’s where I question your intellect on the idea of Isolationism. Just because we’re not violating foreign countries sovereignty for the benefit of the Saudis NOT the American people, doesn’t mean we automatically become Isolationist. We can still open free trade with these countries without any embargo’s or tariffs. We would quit overthrowing foreign Democratic governments and installing our own puppets. Maybe then people won’t hate us across the world. You have such a crude understanding of foreign policy it makes me want to puke. spending trillions less on defense contractors and more on our education system ‘we’re ranked 34th in the world btw’ infrastructure would build a stronger america both figuratively and literally.
[/quote]

Well, move away from your computer before you let it hurl. Otherwise, you won’t be able to spill your swill into the keyboard any longer.

Do you honestly think that ignoring terrorism (other foreign aggressors) abroad and sitting here until the enemy comes creeping in is a good idea?


#18

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote] cois no ntingbeand wrote:

All liberty needs is an introduction, it doesn’t need a face, spokes person or idol. It’s the truth, it speaks for itself.Ã? [/quote]

And no offense intended, Beans, but your statement is precisely part of the problem. Political philosophy is not religion - [/quote]

Liberty isn’t a political philosophy, but just a philosophy. Self governance is a will of many a persons throughout time, and I point to the Vietnamese and Afghans as perfect examples of this. Now what they consider liberty and what I consider liberty are two very different things, but famers and goat herders turned into army regulars fighting off the world’s super powers for decades on end is not the result of “political philosophy”. It is the result of a belief, as strong if not stronger than any religious dogma, in something greater than one’s self.

I think you need to spend more time on social media…

Look at “love wins” for a perfect example.

Shit the entire fact of “gay acceptance” has been through the casting of it in utopian terms and letting younger people come to the conclusion that no, being gay isn’t some wretched thing that will destroy the earth as we know it, and then using there political will to push the agenda.

[quote]“Liberty” is no god that “speaks for itself”, and dressing discussing libertarianism as a kind of evangelism is one reason why libertariams get nowhere in basic electoral politics.

[/quote]

The way I speak of liberty is no different than the way others speak of abortion, or tax the rich, or income inequality. I’m curious as to why fringe smaller issues can be spoken of like that, but large important ones suddenly have to be a religion to have legs of it’s own.


#19

Beans,

Liberty is most certainly a political philosophy inasmuch as you (collective you) are trying to get people to vote for other people to get elected an enact an agenda that promotes policies you think are pro-liberty. And since politics matter a great deal to this enterprise - after all, liberty is constrained by and interacts with the public law - libertarians would do well to stop acting like street evangelicals with strapped on sandwich boards and more like people interested in actually winning elections.

The problem is that the brand of liberty on your end of the spectrum concedes no trade offs in politics. The world is simple, there is Liberty amd Tyranny, and all we need is some of that liberating faith. Paul sang from this same song sheet.

No one buys it, not even the SLFC crowd. It’s too naive. It sounds like a religion. People want practical solutions for a complicated world, not gassy abstractions. People are wise - they understand liberty is not always a good thing, and that Liberty as an End is not a philosophy any society has successfully enjoyed. And never will. Ever.

The SLFC crowd is out there, generally for the taking electorally. Ron Paul only hurt the chances of turning that group into a viable coalition.


#20

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Beans,

Liberty is most certainly a political philosophy inasmuch as you (collective you) are trying to get people to vote for other people to get elected an enact an agenda that promotes policies you think are pro-liberty. And since politics matter a great deal to this enterprise - after all, liberty is constrained by and interacts with the public law - libertarians would do well to stop acting like street evangelicals with strapped on sandwich boards and more like people interested in actually winning elections.

The problem is that the brand of liberty on your end of the spectrum concedes no trade offs in politics. The world is simple, there is Liberty amd Tyranny, and all we need is some of that liberating faith. Paul sang from this same song sheet.

No one buys it, not even the SLFC crowd. It’s too naive. It sounds like a religion. People want practical solutions for a complicated world, not gassy abstractions. People are wise - they understand liberty is not always a good thing, and that Liberty as an End is not a philosophy any society has successfully enjoyed. And never will. Ever.

The SLFC crowd is out there, generally for the taking electorally. Ron Paul only hurt the chances of turning that group into a viable coalition.[/quote]

This a very interesting thought, T-Bolt, and has me thinking. (As you often have!)

Two questions for you:

  1. I don’t think any party thinks that they can win a PRESIDENTIAL election just with their base. I can see that the DEMS most likely try to focus on the SLFC/undecided group…but it just seems unclear to me the strategy that the GOP has.

Is there a “swing” group that you think they aim for; or is their strategy one of bolstering the base and getting them out in large numbers? (I THINK that it was Beans who brought up the fact that if Romney has gotten just 2-3% more of the Hispanic or African American vote he would have won? It was something close).

  1. The “L” in “SLFC”. Do you view this as a wide spectrum? I ask this, because a “true” or “classic” (not HISTORICALLY classic) liberal tends to think that the cure for most ills is to throw money at it.

While the crowd that I tend to know the best is “SLFC”…they see a LOT of waste in “classically” liberal things. Nor would they want to be considered “liberal” in the classic since. (Many of whom are registered “Independent”, by the way).

Mufasa