Ron Paul and the American Right

It boils down to foreign policy. President Obama has proved more competent than Bush in this area, but being a more competent beehive whacker does not take a whole hell of a lot of work. Most of Rep. Paul’s domestic policy proposals would have to go through that beautiful, awe-inspiring labyrinth of constitutional checks-and-balances created by the Founding Fathers of this great republic. However, Presidents have much more leeway when it comes to foreign policy. This is something that Ron Paul has talked about checking, but it is also something that could convince independents on the Left to vote for Ron Paul.

Think about it: he would (unfortunately) have a tough time getting some of his domestic policy proposals passed, but as President he commands the military, and he wants to bring our troops home.

My main concern upon writing this little blurb is the Right’s reluctance to embrace Ron Paul’s foreign policy of freedom, commerce, and honest friendship. The following is meant to convince those of you on the Right who would otherwise vote for Ron Paul if it weren’t for his foreign policy views.

The reluctance on the Right to yield to both superior reasoning and common sense on the issue of American foreign policy stems from three basic points:

1) Old timers still have a seething memory of Vietnam burned into their brains. They still remember the bourgeoisie hippies of their youth – most of whom are now members of the Democratic Party – spitting on soldiers as they returned home from our government’s ill-fated war in Vietnam. This is no trivial matter. The hippies represented the upper classes of American society at the time. Hollywood glorifies them today because of it. Their parents were rich and well-connected (as evidenced by the well-worn places inhabited by these hippies in today’s political spectrum). Therefore they did not have to fight in Vietnam. The soldiers that they spit upon, called murderers, and so forth were for the most part draftees. That is, poor people who had no good connections to the power elite at the time. This vision that is no doubt seared into your memories carries with it a meme that has become absolutely toxic to today’s Right. Rather than shift the blame to the Democratic administrations that started and perpetuated the war in Vietnam, the Right instead has instinctively been drawn to support our military-industrial complex out of sheer hatred or contempt for the Left. This is not a reasonable position; it is blind, passionate support for a cause that conservatives of the past have always loathed. Supporting the troops does not equate with supporting Washington’s wars. Remember, Ron Paul has more campaign contributions from members of the military than any other candidate, including President Obama. This was true in 2008, and it is true with the current campaign.

2) There is a disturbing assertion on the part of the Right to conflate Islam with evil-doers.  Wars take (at least) two to tango.  Where were the Muslim terrorists prior to the 1950′s and 1960′s?  The answer: they were attacking European positions both in their overseas colonies and in Europe itself.  Where were the calls from Muslim imams to wage war against the United States prior to the 1950′s?  The answer: there weren’t any.  The main point being driven home by Congressman Paul and other libertarians is not that we should back down and stop fighting in the Muslim world, it’s that our presence of military troops actually encourages the enemies of freedom to target American civilians.  If we were to withdraw our troops from the Muslim world, what would be the consequence?  Would the well-equipped, well-fed armies of the Muslim states “follow us home”?  What would be the incentive or even the rallying call of Islamists be if there were no American troops in Muslim states?  A quick point: Islamism is a popular ideology in the Muslim world.  It is a backwards, self-defeating ideology that, when implemented, leads to states like Iran.  This can be fought, but not with guns and bombs.  Muslims live in deplorable conditions today, but they lack a secular, empowering ideology to help combat the God delusion currently permeating Islamic societies.  This does mean condemning God or Islam or religion.  It just means that there needs to be some other ideas about humanity competing with religion for the hearts and minds of the people there.  Defeating Islamism requires the mind and the pen.  In the case for promoting freedom in the Muslim world, the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” has never been more apt.

3) This brings me to the final camp within the Right which claims to be “libertarian” but in reality acts paternalistically.  Basing their claims for nation-building largely on old 19th and 20th century doctrines promoting and celebrating the success of colonialism, these folks believe that our military and our benevolence are just what other societies need in order to attain freedom.  They point to Germany and Japan often – two states that we beat in a legal war that they started – as examples of just how well an American empire can implement democracy and liberty abroad.  They do not point to Vietnam, the Philippines, Cuba, and many of our other failures in trying to bring foreign states liberty and democracy with tanks and guns pointed in their direction.  They also fail to mention all of the benefits that states previously under colonialism are currently enjoying.  The key difference between our successes and our failures has been the acknowledgment from the other side that they were beaten fair-and-square.  Germany and Japan signed armistices.  What of the other states that we have fought over the years?

It is time to stop supporting all of Washington’s wars out of a knee-jerk hatred for the Left (who often start the wars, by the way).  It is time to acknowledge that our benevolence abroad stems from free trade, honest friendship, and an idea rooted in the belief that all people have the right to self-government, not our guns and bombs.  It is time to bring our troops home to a final – and well-deserved – welcoming party.

9 thoughts on “Ron Paul and the American Right

  1. Rotten apple in a big barrel: I debunked long ago in my blog Facts Matter the evidence that Ron Paul received more contributions from the military than any other presidential candidate. All the numbers presented are so small that they are irrelevant. It’s like saying that Obama is more popular among violent Islamists than Romney because Obama received five dollars from them and Romney three. Next: Your characterization of the VIetnam era draft is a simplistic caricature. (I was an adult then; I opposed that war.) Isn’t Ron Paul on record stating that he would use letters of marque to fight enemies of the US abroad.( I mean by enemies people who has said that they wanted to kill Americans. ) If Paul is indeed on the record, please, explain LETTERS OF MARQUE.

    • 30 years of consistency and that’s the best you have to reply with. Ron Paul is the only true peace candidate and your saying those active military and former veterans of the past few decades who support him don’t matter. I don’t understand how you debunk who had the most military support when the numbers are out there and haven’t been disputed. If it was true that Obama or Romney had the most support the they would definitely flaunt it but they don’t. The Media and military industrial complex wants nothing to do with Ron Paul because he’s bad business for them. On the other hand it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that both Romney and Obama are for the Military industrial complex. Blog that Francois.

    • “Romney has segments of Florida’s population wrapped up, according to the latest data, however: Among respondents who were in the military or who had a family member in the military,
      53 percent said they’d vote for Romney if the election were held today; only 37 percent said they vote for Obama.”

      From an October 10th Zogby poll of Florida likely voters discussed by Newsmax. That’s in response to Brandon’s claim of superior support for Paul among members of the military (based on grotesquely small numbers).

      BillY: You force me, force me to sound professorial!
      Here it goes, you asked for it: If someone says (at NPR, for example),” the percentage of black church-going grandmothers in charge of small children who committed suicide increased by 100% last year.” Has he told you anything? Not really. With this very example, it’s likely that the absolute number went from 2 to 4 for the whole nation. It’s completely meaningless because the numbers are so small. are

      The numbers in questions are discussed in one of my postings debunking Mr Paul on Facts Matter.

      Incidentally, I don’t know if Mr Paul is a real peace candidate. I don’t care much. I think it’s a very bad time for peace. Personally, I want more effective ways of waging war. I am completely sure that the economic ruin violent jihadists wish on
      us would be bad for libertarian utopias.

    • I think I have addressed most of Brandon’s inflated statements in advance in several of my blogs. I don’t wish to repeat myself. There are too many strawmen in this piece. In general, Brandon is afraid of the obvious. He acts as if calling a cat a cat were unsophisticated.

      iamale: I to am an atheist. However, there is something left after my death: other human beings including my children still living in a society that is more fair and more humane than most.

  2. A little bit at a time: I am trying to draw out the practical implications of some of Brandon’s views of what he takes to be more or less a phony war on phony terrorism and childish fears of violent jihadism (the latter, my words). Take the two Bangladeshi arrested recently for planning to blow up the New York Fed. Since 90% of Bangladesh are Muslims, I assume the two are Muslims .Of course, I will have to eat my words if the two turn out to be in fact Hindus, or Baptists. It’s pretty obvious that the FBI led them on, fomented the plot, and pretend-armed them. I don’ want to talk for the moment about the desirability of this practice to focus instead on Brandon’s meaning. I believe that Brandon’s view is that the FBI would have just as easily led on say, Lutherans, as it did Muslims.

    It seems to me that many of Paul devotees are like that. Some are pacifists who don’t want want to admit that they are pacifists because their reading of history tells them it’s wrong. Others are concerned that calling things as they appear to be is unsophisticated. They believe without examining their belief that under the superficial appearance that the sun always rises in the East, there must be a deeper and truer reality. That, I take to be the mysterious Marxist legacy inside libertarianism. I don’t know how it got there, frankly.

  3. A little bit more. (I have a life.) It seems to me that Brandon believes that Malala, the fourteen-year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head in the school bus, was attacked by a fanatical Presbyterian. Or by someone who happened to be a Muslim but who only meant to protest school policies. Or by a pro-life neo-Con zealot viciously posing as a Muslim.

  4. delacroixjacques PERMALINK
    10/14/2012 9:05 am ” Isn’t Ron Paul on record stating that he would use letters of marque to fight enemies of the US abroad.( I mean by enemies people who has said that they wanted to kill Americans. ) If Paul is indeed on the record, please, explain LETTERS OF MARQUE.”

    Dr. Paul has said he would rather use letters of marque than our standing military to go after our enemies.

    I defy you to demonstrate that Ron Paul’s definition “enemies” has EVER included someone that has merely SAID they want to kill Americans without actions of violence. I do believe that Dr. Paul has only said that about those that actually ATTACK the U.S.

  5. Ron Paul, is about as close to the original Constitution as any one in Congress. I think he is trying to plant seeds for future generations, although, It seems in his last statement, he, like many, think Americans may be hopelessly gone after this last election.

    I leaned later, and I do believe that while we were in Vietnam, the communists inflitrated our society over the universities, and government, and like all communists plans introduced the sex, and talk against the capitalistic system, and feminism…to get the women back into the work force and the kids being taken care of by the state. It was going on full blown and we followed along like lambs.

    Demolish the family, and religion, and you have the fertile grounds for a communist takeover. If you read their books, it’s been done everywhere, and it was down here in the sixities. They even have manuels on how to do it. Democracy to Socialims to communism

    And we…are at the communism stage now with Obama…with a ‘crony capitalism bunch at the top for the elites.

    I was a hippie….and I remember most all the rich AND poor..being hippies. Bob Dylan was at the lead of it all…and the music pushed it all along..the ideas.

    And I agree with you about Germany and Japan. We pretty much demolished their cities.
    We don’t fight wars like that, anymore.

    I enjoyed your thoughts!

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