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"Ron Paul is a Crazy Isolationist Loon!"

Hey everybody. I'm the guy who posted that Ron Paul PowerPoint a few months back. I wanted to share how I am dismantling the "crazy isolationist" argument that is constantly being thrown at Dr. Paul.

The loudest criticism that I have heard leveled at Ron Paul is that he is an "isolationist" and "crazy." I hear it multiple times a day from all different corners. I wanted to share an exchange I had on facebook. Perhaps you will find it helpful in your own discussions with people. I am maintaining the person's anonymity because my purpose for sharing it is not to score points. I actually have enormous respect and admiration for the person relative to most in the political scene. The person is a very accomplished and intelligent attorney.

The first part of the conversation does not involve foreign policy, but it was a crucial way for me to initially establish Paul's credibility, soundness of his ideas, and dismantle this notion that he is "crazy." After that, this is the general framework to dismantle the isolationist argument: 1) Ask person to define "isolationism"; 2) point out their definition of isolationism is inconsistent with how the word is commonly used; 3) point out the "isolationist" stance of other countries toward the US and the outcome if they behaved in a non-isolationist fashion; 4) draw analogies to basic property relationships and/or travel; 5) displace the term isolationist and replace it with a more appropriate term (e.g. non-interventionist). Your choice of word or phrase is largely dependent on your audience and your desired effect.

ANONYMOUS PERSON: Ron Paul strikes me as a ranting loon. While I have some libertarian views, I found him entirely out of touch with reality.

MATT BRAKEY: A ranting loon out of touch with reality, indeed:

"[T]he government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market... because the special privileges of Fannie, Freddie, and HLBB have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions. As a result, capital is diverted from its most productive use into housing. This reduces the efficacy of the entire market and thus reduces the standard of living of all Americans.

However, despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government’s interference in the housing market, the government’s policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.

Perhaps the Federal Reserve can stave off the day of reckoning by purchasing GSE debt and pumping liquidity into the housing market, but this cannot hold off the inevitable drop in the housing market forever. In fact, postponing the necessary but painful market corrections will only deepen the inevitable fall. The more people invested in the market, the greater the effects across the economy when the bubble bursts."

-Ron Paul, July 16, 2002, on the floor of the US House of Representatives.

ANONYMOUS PERSON: Paul wasn't the only one who saw the housing bubble in the making, and I agree with him on the comment you posted. Regardless, anyone who preaches isolationism like he did last night strikes me as being out of touch with reality...

MATT BRAKEY: Define "isolationism."

ANONYMOUS PERSON: Avoiding foreign conflict, even at the risk of preserving our own national security. And...not to comment and run, but I've got to pack for vaycay :)

MATT BRAKEY: Your definition of "isolationism" is both inconsistent with modern day parlance and leads to absurd outcomes when taken to its logical conclusion.

If your neighbor decides to paint his house a color you do not like, would it be isolationist to allow him to do so? Is it isolationist to have friendly conversations with your neighbors and maybe even give them a warm welcome to the neighborhood? Is it isolationist to tolerate behavior that could possibly be construed as nuisance as opposed to remedying the behavior with violence?

Has China taken an isolationist stance because it has not established military bases in the US? Are they isolationist because their navy does not sit in international waters right off the gulf coast? Are they isolationist because they have not imposed their values and system of governance on the US? To use the parlance of our generation, what you call being isolationist, I call "not being a dick."

In the off chance my reasoning carries any weight with you, I implore you to take an isolationist stance toward the locals while on your vacation. Do not bomb them. Do not erect trade barriers. Enjoy the uniqueness of the people and the area, even if inconsistent with our way of life as Clevelanders.

ANONYMOUS: Matt B- I think your way of seeing of the world and mine are entirely different. I'd rather not spend some hard won time off trying to reconcile the two.

While I did not change this individual's mind, I hope people share my conclusion that this is a great way to break the back of the isolationist label. Also, it probably would have been wise for me to take less of a confrontational role. People naturally get very defensive when they feel you are attacking them directly. This is more a reflection of my tendency to run my mouth than making an effective argument.

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kindly ask her to not question peoples sanity if they are unwilling to understand their position.

as azjoe said below

"I like the dictionary definition of isolationism:
A national policy of abstaining from political or economic relations with other countries."

Definition of isolationism is:

[ahy-suh-ley-shuh-niz-uhm, is-uh-] Show IPA

the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities.

I don't think Ron Paul is against us keeping our economic commitments. I don't think he is against us having agreements or even disagreements with other nations. He is against entering into entangling alliances with any nation. As for the "seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities." Free trade between nations should always help both nations involved and usually promotes peace between them, The word "free trade" does not have entangling alliances because you should be trading with all nations. To trade with one while not another will always bread resentment.


{The Council has resorted to mandatory sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed. The range of sanctions has }.

so who are the isolationist?

what is an interventionist?


Intervention is divided into two types non-aggressive and aggressive.

So the UN and its members uses non aggressive intervention (sanctions) and if it does not work they use aggressive intervention (military).

So if they isolate you and you do not obey they kill you.

What is the non-interventionist history in America? (that's right its pretty much an American Idea!



It's also good to use examples. China does and has done terrible things within their country, however we have traded and been peaceful with them. They have moved in the right direction as a result of it. Vietnam is another good example. We best exert our influence on these other countries through information/exchange rather than force of arms, which in every case has always made things worse.

Ask them to name an example of a time that sanctions have caused another country to do as we say


You might suggest that it is the congress that declares war, and if there was enough intelligence/threat for them to declare war on someone, then President Paul would certainly carry out the mission.

There is nothing wrong with your approach.

It's all in the delivery.

Change your delivery to questions that lead them to the answers you want them to realize. That way, they don't feel attacked, and they learn something.

People are more amenable to considering a different point of view if they have to answer leading questions than they are by having to defend their own view point.

"Attacks" lead to entrenchment. Questions lead to understanding.

You've got some gems in there. Change them into questions, and you're home free.

I agree. I would urge people

I agree. I would urge people to use a softer tone than what I had. My argumentativeness was a reflection of the forum. In most forums, that tone would be counterproductive. Arguably, it was even counterproductive in this instance.

Matt Brakey


And for the record, anonymous is a her ;)

Matt Brakey

no ones supposed to know that!

but cool

I think I would have asked him

What other CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT predicted the housing bubble?

I find it disturbing how easily everyone falls for the isolationist line. Is everyone of the mindset that being isolationist is like being anti-social? What is more anti-social than killing people?



Matt Brakey

The simplest way to explain it is to put it in terms people can

understand very easily.

Like is mentioned in this example:


Basically if you explain isolated means "you're all alone" / "no one likes you" / "people stay away from you". What's more likely to get you isolated? Killing everyone in sight, or being friends? Obviously if you kill everyone, people will stay away and hate you and you'll be isolated / alone / lonely. Which is exactly what our foreign policy is now.

What Ron Paul is saying is that instead of killing people, we should try to have a conversation and be friendly. That way we can come together and settle our differences.

Which one is more isolated/lonely? The guy no one invites over or the guy at the party? It's that simple. Right now we're that guy that no one invites over b/c everyone thinks we're going to kill them, but if we listen to Ron Paul, we'll be the most popular guy at the party because we'll be peaceful instead of violent and crazy.


The guy tapped out. He isn't intelligent, just pretentious.

You can tell because he couldn't say "DAMN. Ok you've got a point" he had to seem like a guy that has a retort, but thinks it would be a waste of time to drop a few lines explaining it.

He however took time to write a few lines to bullshit you and cover the fact that he had no retort and no way to frame it.

NCMarc's picture

Easy way to defeat this attack...

I guess that all other countries are Isolationists? I can't name other countries that have military bases in other countries. Does China have a base in Iraq? Or Pakistan? Nope. Does France have a base here? They must be an Isolationist too! Damn, everyone is.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. - Ben Franklin


: ANONYMOUS PERSON: Avoiding foreign conflict, even at the risk of preserving our own national security.
This is not Ron Paul's position. His position is to avoid foreign conflict unless there really is a national security risk. He also doesn't discount the blowback factor in evaluating such risk.

"Know what you know, know what you don't know, and understand and appreciate the distinction."


I agree this is not Ron

I agree this is not Ron Paul's position. The problem is what you define as "preserving our own national security." You and I probably would agree that Iran getting a nuke has little to no implications to our national security. A neocon would say the exact opposite.

Matt Brakey

generally, 'people' use the word 'crazy' when . . .

they want to marginalize someone.

When I hear that word being used, I immediately dismiss the source.

Isolationist? Well, again, the same thing--

marginalize by calling names--

it reflects upon the person who uses those words--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Republicae's picture

Not counting the illegal

Not counting the illegal military intervention of Lincoln, this government has followed an intentional path of military, political and economic intervention into well over 200 countries for the last 125 years or so...the question is has it "made the world a safer place", for that matter, has it made this country safer?

These interventions drastically change this historic time line, take for instance our intervention in WWI, prior to our intervention both sides in the war were basically drained of resources, tired of the war, the politics of the war was losing steam and the likelihood of a peaceful settlement was possible had this government not intervened.

With our intervention came victory, with that victory came a changed power structure that set into motion the seeds of many of the very issues that we still, to this day, are confronted with and suffer from. The breakup of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, the drawing of lines in the sand throughout the Middle East was a direct result of the interventionist policies of Wilson, had he not entered the war, the Turkish Empire would have naturally disintegrated, naturalized boundaries would have been formed based on ethnicity, but artificial nation states were formed based on the political desires of both the British and the U.S., it was a political form of nationalization that haunts us to this very day.

Additionally, with the Treaty of Versailles, the Germans were hit with reparations far too heavy and a national humiliation far too burdensome for German pride or pocket. The animosity the Treaty caused gave rise to a man that most likely would have remained a nobody, but used the soap-box of the Treaty to first gain the ear of many of the German people and then gain the power over those people, of course that was Hitler. Imagine had none of this taken place, imagine if WWI had not taken place, it could be reasoned that Lenin and the Bolsheviks would have never gained power in Russia, it could be reasoned that Hitler would have been unknown, millions of the Jewish People would still be alive, most likely Israel would not exist today nor, for that matter would Iran, Syria, Iraq or many other artificially created states as they now stand nor the conflicts that pose such destructive natures in men and, in particular, in governments.

Let us look at Cuba, for instance, we took possession of that Island after the Spanish American War, a war that was designed specifically for the purpose of providing this government with the Imperial impetus it needed to become a "global power". What was the outcome? Well, if you read the events of that intervention, in particular the intervention into Cuba, you will see that the results ended in a Communist Revolution, thanks in large part to our government's short-sighted policy of intervention. There are numerous other examples around the world where our government's policy of intervention has created far greater threats to our safety than would have been able to naturally evolve had we not intervened.

Of course, it is all simply supposition, but we, or at least our government, never knows the outcome of its actions, it can never look into the future to see what could have been...it can only intervene and hope for the most uncertain results in the future. Intervention is a most dangerous game for the consequences of such actions always bear uncertainty and usually, as history bears out, dangers that might not have existed had there been no intervention.

Just something to think about...



"We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States" John C. Calhoun

Thank you for this

This response could be it's own post. I wish there was a way to share a comment on facebook!

you can agrue this forever

most voters do not understand. To isolate means no contact. Ron Paul does not promote non contact. He promotes proper relationship and free trade by market standard. Ron does not promote distorted friendships and policy that gets a Country in trouble, and certainly not similar to the relationships the USA already has, which is WAR and Dictation to others. Abusive relationships. The NWO they preach. I will not vote for anyone speaking against IRAN simply for the reason that Iran can learn it's own lessons.
They want Nuclear they have to live with nuclear. You live by the sword you can also perish by the sword. It is LIFE that is hard to accept, not death. Death is easy. They do it all the time.
The only difference would be fighting a preemptive war versus fighting a defensive war. Hopefully a defensive war would never come, but you can be assured a preemptive war is certain. They get here without cause. A preemptive war is fought only because someone is scared. To scare someone is a sin, but to react because you are scared is also a sin.
YOU are to pray for your enemies for this very reason.

ask questions and more questions and still more questions

when people SLANDER and NAME CALL.


Are you saying that Israel, with over 300 nukes and the best tanks and jet planes around, are defenseless?

Are you saying Cuba is threat?

What gives you the right to stop my American freedom to buy imported things from Cuba and Iran?

Why must we pay for the defense of Japan, Korea, Germany?

Do you think there is a nation out there with desires and intentions to invade the coastal U S A ?

How big a danger does the USA seriously have from invasion?

Do you think Iran is preparing for invasion of the coastal USA?

Do you think it is the job of the Federal Government to protect the USA from coastal invasion?

Do you think it is the job of the AMERICAN federal government to protect from invasion, say Japan from invasion from China?

Do you think our Federal Government must protect most other countries such as Korea, Germany, and Japan from invasion?

Should we protect the Mexicans and Brazilians and South Africans and the Israelis all from invasion? Is that the Job of OUR federal Government?

Do you think that I and my friends and the American people MUST pay for with their lives and money the protection for all these countries?

Many historians, both on the left and right, agree that the reason that both World War I and WWII became "World Wars" was that countries made many mutual "If you are attacked, we will fight for you" overlapping military agreements. How many overlapping military agreements does America have today?

Here is a long question for you:

If British citizens go on an "Aid For People in Gaza" ship, and Britain sends its military ship to observe its British citizens on a peaceful flotilla to give aid to the people in Gaza, ...and then Israels navy tries to stop it, and then lots of shooting begins between the 2 ships, and then British military ship intervenes to protect its citizens, and then the Israeli war ship attacks the British war ship...... let me repeat, if the Israeli War Ship ATTACKS the British War Ship.... which side does the Americans take? What if Israel and Britain go to war? Whose defense do we come? If we have military protection agreements to BOTH countries, who do we protect? What if Germany and Israel go to war? What if Israel ATTACKS anyone, MUST WE ALWAYS DEFEND ISRAEL - even if Israel is wrong?

If as you say, people will always seek drugs to get high, then why not treat the issue as a medical addiction problem, and not a Criminal Drug War problem?

If its a Drug "War", when will this war be over? Anytime soon? Can we ever declare victory with the Drug War?

If heroin was perfectly legal and you could go buy some at the local drug store, would YOU go buy heroin?

So you would not buy heroin, even its its perfectly legal?

You fear other people would buy heroin if its perfectly legal, do you think that would lead to MORE heroin addicts than we have today?

So you think drug legalization leads to more drug addicts, right?

So you think BECAUSE there would be MORE drug addicts, that is the reason we must have a drug war, right?

So if you learned that full drug legalization DID NOT lead to MORE drug addicts than before, then you would logically withdraw all your support for the Drug war, right?

No? Who is nuts here? Ok, if full drug legalization resulted in LESS drug addicts, THEN you would withdraw all your support for the drug war, right?

No? Who is nuts here? You WANT more drug addicts?

Ok you would withdraw your support for the Drug War if it can be shown that LESS addicts are the result, correct?

Ok, let me ask you, have looked in that, researched it?

Do you know about Holland and especially Portugal?

I hear your fear of Iran who has no nukes, but Bin Laden and Al Quada who have said they are out to attack us, are in Pakistan. Don't you think Pakistan's nukes are a greater concern?

Is it nutty to worry about a country with no nukes?

Is it more nutty NOT to worry about a country with nukes and Bin Laden found right nearby?

Which is nuttier? Worrying about Iran with No Bin Laden and No Nukes, or worrying about Pakistan with Nukes and Bin Laden?


My point above is that Questions demand THINKING. And people who say Ron Paul is crazy, he's nuts, he's an isolationist, etc. are NOT thinking. So ASK a series of questions. Don't answer your own question, just Ask.


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
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And My Favorite

How would we feel if someone did that to us?

We would be objecting.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

If people would

uderstand terminology and stop letting the media think for them they would understand that for Ron Paul to be a strong proponent of friendly trade between nations and an isolationist is contradictory.

Non-interventionists promote trade, isolationists do not.

I know it all has to do with Iran - as if Iraq isn't good enough precedent to show how foolish the sabor-rattling towards Iran is.

But, as I keep getting told, at least our invasion of Iraq has kept us safe...that's all that matters.

Heavy, sad sigh...

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul


Thanks for posting.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

I would love ron to say

You know WHAT, I am an isolationist when it comes to the constitution I am the ONLY CANDIDATE who actually defends it 100%.

shut em all up ron

Man I wish he had bad ass one liners of liberty

thats what we should put together

One Liners of Liberty

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana


Although philosophically I hate the one liners because they cheapen the debate, sometimes you have to work within the system you have.

One-liner, soundbites

That sounds like a great idea for a forum thread.

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

Great idea...

When confronted with opposition to his wanting to end the Patriot Act, TSA, etc., I'd like to hear RP say in his goofy mocking voice... If they hated us for our Freedoms, Boy they must really Love us now!

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

Ron Paul's inability to

Ron Paul's inability to translate his positions to effective one liners certainly has been a big hindrance. Unfortunately, that is the side effect of having well thought out, nuanced positions.

If you boil everything I wrote down, and merely turn on the questioner and ask them to "define isolationism", it can catch them off guard and a quick point could be scored.

Matt Brakey

I don't think one-liners

I don't think one-liners would accomplish what he is trying to accomplish. RP is serious about winning but is foremost trying to inject more detailed libertarian terminology and views to the public at large.

One-liners would not advance the public understanding of Liberty, it would just leave it at the 3rd grade level. We are trying to supplant the US Idiocracy, and build stronger foundations for the the future.

The US is already done - kiss it goodbye, it is long gone - which is why these new, stronger foundations need to be built now so we have something to fall back on.