Essay:Analysis of Ron Paul's views
Many parts of the Pro Left and its adherents have become so anti-Obama and anti-Democratic that they turn to another candidate who they feel is more "progressive". Who is this candidate? Long time consumer advocate Ralph Nader? A member of the Socialist Party USA? Nope. "Libertarian" Ron Paul. Yes, a Republican candidate is apparently who much of the internet favors over President Obama, who has accomplished a great deal, despite what the Pro-Left seems to suggest. I say "libertarian" in quotes because whether he truly is a libertarian is questionable. Here, I'm going to analyze Ron Paul's various positions on the issues, and look at them from a progressive point of view. This essay is aimed at all the Paulbots who may be on RationalWiki. If you have any Paulbot friends who claim to be liberals, please show them this list to make them think twice. I'm only going to give citations on his positions that aren't very well known, but if a Paulbot requests, I'll back every single claim up in this essay. The essay will be divided up into three aspects of Paul's policy: social, economic, and military. This should encompass most issues (for example, environment and health care will go under "economic policy", while civil liberties will go under "military").
Generally, when looking at a Republican candidate, I tend to first judge them by their stance on social issues. I seem to speak for a lot of people on this, given that Jon Huntsman, a social moderate, is considered to be the most rational candidate in the field, despite being to the right of Mitt Romney on some issues. A "libertarian" Ron Paul should generally be on the good side of social issues. Indeed, listening to the debates, one almost gets the impression that he is a social liberal, given that he has repeatedly countered Santorum's stances on gay marriage and abortion, despite claiming to be Pro-Life. However, closer examination of Ron Paul's stances reveals him to be horrifyingly extreme - arguably more extreme than the aforementioned Rick Santorum. The reason for this comes from the fact that while Ron Paul does not believe it to be the federal government's job to regulate people's private lives, he's certainly cool with state governments doing so. This is similar to the kind of "slavery is freedom, if you look at it this way" argument made during the Civil War (that is still repeated by Neoconfederates). Let's recoup exactly how horrifyingly racist, anti-choice, anti-women, anti-gay, and anti-religious freedom his positions are.
- Wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act. Claims it to have "destroyed privacy". Nice way to distance himself from his racist newsletters by opposing what is widely considered to be one of the most important Civil Rights legislations in history.
- He'd repeal Roe v. Wade, a landmark for women's reproductive rights.
- He'd allow states to reinstate anti-sodomy laws. So much for personal liberty when you give states the permission to restrict people's sex lives.
- He seems to be sexist, saying sexually harassed women should just "quit once the so-called harassment starts". This for me is the most sickening position he takes up. I challenge a Paul-bot to explain this.
These are just some of his horrible social policy ideas. If you think allowing states to do some of these things is "freedom", you really need to re-evaluate your understanding of that word. Paulbots will sometimes say "so what? he has all these other good ideas". Before I get to "these other good ideas", I'd like to ask the following question: who are you to decide which issues are significant? Tell a black man or a woman or an LGBT person who has faced years of oppression that their rights "aren't a major issue". Paulbots, with little other resort, will say "he probably won't get that done. The Supreme Court won't let him." It is interesting how they raise this consequential card when Ron Paul's major campaign points are on his "principle" and "core values", rather than his accomplishments (which don't exist, save one exception that I'll discuss below).
Ron Paul's economic policy is really what earns his place in the Republican party. His policy is similar to Laissez-Faire capitalism. Normally, it would be easy for people on the left to find reasons to oppose him; dropping just a couple of his policy stances such as eliminating Social Security and the Income Tax should drive any progressive away. Progressive Ron Paul supporters will almost always duck under his military policy and just say "this is consistent with his small-government principles". But it is the other kind of Ron Paul supporter, the libertarian Paulbot, who is annoyingly difficult to beat. This is because whenever you point out facts to them, like "Ron Paul would repeal anti-trust laws", the will bit the bullet and say "so what?". This is frustratingly difficult to respond to, because it requires digging back to talking points of one hundred years into the past, when these issues were being seriously debated. But even then, there was little debate at all among politicians. The 1912 election had four major parties: The progressive Democratic Party, the progressive Republican Party, the Progressive Party, and the Socialist Party. This gives an idea of how wanted these reforms were at the time.
Because "economic policy" is a diverse area, I'll split this up into various sections.
Taxation and fiscal policy
Ron Paul is famous for wanting to cut $1 trillion of spending in one year. At the same time though, he wants to eliminate most forms of taxation, including income, payroll, capital gains, and corporate. In this case then, cutting $1 trillion really isn't very helpful if most forms of revenue are gone. For Ron Paul to balance the budget with his tax cuts, he needs to remove virtually all spending. Based on 2012 budget figures, this would mean a total of $50 billion in revenues, far smaller than the some $160 billion spent every year on interest to the national debt, which is necessary spending.
Ron Paul is opposed to federal regulations of virtually all kind. For consumer-protecting regulations, he will often claim "a free market will let people choose the best stuff to buy". This is rather strange for him to say, since the repeal of anti-trust legislation will result in the lack of a free market and will remove any choice the consumer has.
Ron Paul supporters will always remind people that Dr. Paul is a doctor, and that as a result he is the expert on health care. If anything, the fact that he is a doctor makes his frightening views on health care even more confusing. Ron Paul would have a complete deregulation of the healthcare industry, so far that the result of his policies would be hospitals letting people without insurance die. When this was pointed out to him in a debate, his only response was "churches will take care of them".
Not to mention Ron Paul would also eliminate Social Security and Medicare, both some of the most successful entitlement programs in history, and benefit millions of seniors and poor people.
Ron Paul is one of only two GOP candidates who claims that global warming is a hoax (the other being Rick Santorum). His energy policy is literally to remove all restrictions on "traditional" fuel sources, in hopes that this will spark higher efficiency standards from a free market. Paul forgets that the Clean Air Act made very noticeable environmental benefits, and there is no evidence that the same level of Clean Air would have ever come from his ideal free market. He suggests that expanding oil drilling will reduce gas prices.
Interestingly, it's hard to see how a "free market" will cause any change in prices or quality, considering that his anti anti-trust policies would return America to the days of the Standard Oil monopoly.
To be finished.