May 31, 2011

Sunday Night, while talking to my son in Charleston, SC, the subject of Ron Paul's candidacy came up in the course of the conversation. In fact, we spent 80 or 90 minutes discussing this subject with my son begging me, giving me an urgent plea to consider Ron Paul as the only possible candidate strong enough to defeat President Obama in 2012. He even asked for me to write about the man, that I am doing; and to endorse the him as well, that I can't do just yet.

Ron Paul is a lone wolf in the midst of Tea Party enthusiasts, party purists, mainline Republicans and fiscal conservatives. Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin and Hermann Cain best represent the first group; Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman head the second; Mitt Romney, John Bolton and Gary Johnson of New Mexico are mainliners while Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan (should he run) led the fiscal conservatives.

Others who haven't declared or ruled out a run are Allen West (Tea Party & Conservative); and Rick Perry of Texas who is in a group all by himself, viz. States Rights (and all of the above).

Ron Paul is a libertarian and cannot be compartmentalized. He walks to the beat of a different drummer, speaks to the issues we want to hear about, but advocates things we know the founding fathers would support, but no one in Congress would vote for. Not to worry, Obama has done numerous things the congress wouldn't back and there have been no repercussions.

What is a libertarian?

Simply put, it is a political philosophy that affirms and promotes individual liberty. The emphasis here is upon individual. This stands opposed to corporate liberty or collective freedom espoused by the vast majority of Democrats in Congress and the White House today.

Individual liberty was the mantra of the Reagan White House and in that sense, Ronald Reagan was a libertarian. Today's libertarian is a bit more socially liberal than conservative. It opposes laws restricting adult consensual sexual relationships and drug use, and to imposing religious views or practices and compulsory military service.

But as a philosophy, libertarianism endorses the dignity and self-ownership of the individual which socialists and progressives deny. It believes that all forms of collectivist hierarchy undermine the libertarian attitude and hence the prospects for a free society.

Bringing this down to an understandable level, libertarianism wants the government to get out of a person's way to allow him or her to succeed or fail, to prosper or not, to be self-reliant and not dependent on the government and that the actions of an individual should not infringe upon the freedom of any other person.

True, there are extremes within libertarianism just like there are extremes within the two traditional ideologies of liberalism and conservatism. There are Libertarian Socialists like Noam Chomsky on the one side and Libertarian Anarchists like Roy Childs and Angela Keaton on the other. But a Libertarian of the ilk of Ron Paul is more mainstream.

In summation, Paul is a non-interventionist (as opposed to isolationism) who doesn't want to waste time, money and resources in wars we have no business fighting.

He advocates free trade and abhors protectionism and says that regulations undermine personal freedoms such as the right to conduct commerce with anyone one chooses.

He opposed NAFTA and CAFTA saying free-trade agreements are really "managed trades that serve special interests."

While he believes the US-Mexican border should be allowed to be crossed by anyone, he does argue that illegal aliens take a toll on welfare and Social Security and he would end such benefits, He says that uncontrolled immigration makes the U.S. a magnet for illegal aliens, increases welfare payments, and exacerbates the strain on an already highly unbalanced federal budget.

In regards to air travel, Paul opposed the federalization of airport security, the creation of the DHS and increased police state measures, but did propose legislation that would allow airline pilots to begin carrying firearms in cockpits.

Paul believes the size of federal government must be decreased substantially. In order to restrict the federal government to what he believes are its Constitutionally authorized functions, Paul regularly votes against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes.

He would substantially reduce the government's role in individual lives and in the functions of foreign and domestic states. He would attempt to abolish the Departments of Energy, Education, Commerce, Health and Human Services, FEMA, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. He would thus simplify the tax code to a flat-rate, letting Congress oversee Interstate Commerce (as called for in the Constitution) and turning the rest of what he sees as unnecessary bureaucracy over to the states. By the Congressional Budget Office's standards that would help to reduce the federal budget by 35 percent, balance it and pay off the national debt within four years!

As a true libertarian in the classical sense of the word, Ron Paul would do away with the Federal Reserve. This independent money controlling mechanism is responsible to no one. Like the First Bank of the United States Alexander Hamilton was so fond of, and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed it to be anti-Constitutional, Paul would put a Jeffersonian push on the FED's abolishment.

I could present more than two dozen other positions Ron Paul holds dear, none of which are addressed by any of the other GOP candidates (other than a possible cursory nod to lowering taxes). Suffice it to say that Ron Paul is the closest candidate we have to Ayn Rand's objectionist philosophy without the talk of atheism and hostility to religious beliefs. After all, according to Paul, these are part of a person's individual freedoms that the government has no right to regulate or prohibit.

Can Ron Paul win? If nominated I believe he stands a fighting good chance. But the problem is the nominating process. He is a lone wolf, with no one of influence or prestige in his corner. For now, I won't endorse him. But he sure would make a great Treasury Secretary.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.