The Hypocrisy of the RightSubmitted by applekid on Fri, 01/27/2012 - 14:32
I apologize in advance if this post is not in the right place. I checked the forum rules, and it appeared that there were no guidelines on where to post materials, so I decided the general "Ron Paul" forum might be the best place.
To give you some background, I wrote this essay over a month ago (late 2011) to explain why I believe the Republican party - and many conservatives - have abandoned the message of liberty and limited government for pandering, hypocritical politicians selling snake oil. As I say in the essay, these beliefs are mine alone and do not necessarily represent Dr. Paul, but I have received a lot of enthusiastic feedback and praise from this essay and hope that it might serve other supporters of Dr. Paul's message. If you think there's someone you might like to share it with, feel free!
My Last Appeal to Conservatives
I used to be like you. I used to think that democracy was America’s gift to the world, whether anyone else wanted it or not. I used to think that it was our duty to promote a free world, no matter the collateral damage. Looking back at the last decade, beginning with September 11th, 2001, but continuing through a second Bush Presidential term and into the Obama administration, there was certainly no shortage of events from which to draw my conclusions and mold my beliefs. That doesn’t make me special. In fact, that makes me just like most of you. Around 2006, I was introduced to the ideas and message of Ron Paul through a coworker. Little did I know that Dr. Paul’s message would change the way I viewed politics in America. It would strengthen my resolve as a conservative, open my mind to the possibilities of limited government, and believe it or not – change me personally. Since becoming an ardent supporter of Dr. Paul, I have increasingly strived to produce better results in my own life. I have improved in the areas of discipline and personal responsibility, and to some degree I believe I have become more compassionate. Coincidentally, I also met the love of my life and married her during this period – though I suspect that Dr. Paul’s influence had little to do with this, I am not prepared to write it off entirely! I’m not suggesting that Dr. Paul’s message will change your life in this way – I do not want to start a crazy Cult of Ron Paul, or lend credence to the idea that Dr. Paul already commands a cult of personality – but I hope that by comparing where I have been and where I am today, you might see how his message has changed me for the better and how his political teachings infused an entire generation of young Americans with a renewed desire for personal responsibility, limited government and liberty. I do not purport to speak for Dr. Paul, and am speaking only for myself.
How Did I Arrive Here?
I graduated from Leesville High School and, as Class President, gave the opening speech at our graduation ceremony. I’m sure this made my grandparents proud, but my college tenure would be a different story (I never had much interest in going to class, and ultimately did not receive a degree).
As a Political Science major at Louisiana State University, my freshman semester began in 2001. Weeks into the semester, the incidents of September 11th happened. Naturally there was a lot of debate and discussion on campus, and with an entire nation on the warpath we students were not much different. At that time, few students were against military action to bring the perpetrators to justice. Even fewer cared what we had to do to get revenge – myself included. In any event, I supported President George W. Bush in his military conquests, even voting for him for a second term in 2004. I bought the weapons of mass destruction bait and switch, not unlike most Americans, hook line and sinker. I was a young Neocon who, despite not having much of a penchant for actual studies, was very opinionated and passionate about his beliefs.
Naturally, college exposes you to many different political ideologies and viewpoints. Though I had been raised as a traditional conservative to believe that military activity to spread the “message of democracy and liberty” was a just one, I was routinely challenged by those around me to see things differently. Though at the time I believed pacifism and deference to be the qualities of cowards, I have come to understand over the past 10 years that there is no pride or dignity in war; especially when such wars are waged in the names of false justice and “liberation.”
The Hypocrisy of the Right
Having been one of you and lived among you for so long, I have had the distinct privilege to interact with you both privately and publicly. I have seen you come to the defense of the Constitution while edging the Zippo ever closer to its fragile corners, and I am here to tell you that I’m finished. Oh don’t worry, it’s okay – you won’t even know I am gone. You have run off a thousand supporters with good intentions and sound ideas in the past, and you will run off thousands more before all is said and done.
Although I initially registered as an Independent, it is obvious to most of you that I identify most closely with Republicans. The gap between an expansive and powerful central government and a government with limited powers is a big one to bridge. Indeed, the conflict goes back to our nation’s roots, having been one of the more contentious issues of its time. It’s no different today. However, what I have come to understand is that although Republicans (and conservatives) often pledge to champion the values of limited government, they have been both instrumental and necessary in growing it to its current size. But what angers me most is not the actions of Republicans past, but the steadfast denial of people living in the present. Even as I write this, Republicans in Congress are supporting legislation to grow the power of government and restrict individual liberty while at the same time purporting to champion the exact opposite of those actions. And they are co-opting you, conservatives, into aiding them. Well not me. Not anymore.
It’s also no surprise to most of you that I support many liberal social causes. High on that list are the issues of equality for homosexuals, a woman’s right to choose and an end to the culture of prohibition that has been aiding in bankrupting this nation. I reject the exchange of money in Washington for political favors, the lobbying and all corrupt activities denounced under the banner of progressive liberals. These social issues are obviously very polarizing, and it is extremely important that we debate and resolve to address all of them. However, I am suggesting that these matters be left until after we have charted a better course for America. How can a country provide equality and liberty to its people – the very principles that we all claim to fight for – if it is bankrupt? Can it enforce the fair and just laws of its land if it has no means to pay for enforcement? If its authority has long been eroded by the system of spoils and backroom deals? If the people have no trust in their leadership, and if their obedience comes only at the barrel of a gun? I say, no. These activities are a cancer upon our country – the world’s flagship democracy. And what restricts these activities? What stands in their way and threatens to hold them in check? Why, our Constitution! The document that every public official has sworn to uphold.
I will spare you the hyperbole and rhetoric that typically accompanies such statements because I believe we’re all at a point where we recognize that our country’s monetary problems are out of control. We disagree on how to resolve those issues, but those answers will come through debate and the parliamentary process that we have long relied upon. That system is not broken, but the people comprising it are morally broken.
So what will it take to change that system? It will take an Executive that is not a traditional Washington insider. Someone who won’t play ball. Someone who bucks both party establishments and draws strength directly from the people. Someone who understands that the Constitution is literally the last thing standing between a free society rooted in liberty and the misguided monarchy from which we separated.
Over the last 5 years , conservatives and Republicans have increasingly called out for smaller government, deregulation and an end to the wars abroad. However, these same “conservatives” refuse to support Ron Paul today, when he is the only serious presidential candidate espousing these issues. What does that say about them? It says that they are ill-informed about history, liberty and our Constitution and that they are duty-bound to follow marching orders from the GOP establishment and FOX News. These people buy the same lies, repackaged, rebranded and sold at a high cost over and over again. They will say it is the “wisdom of age” or the “clarity of maturity,” when what they really mean is that it is the cowardice of the shepherded. This should not be surprising considering that our traditional Judeo-Christian values preach subservience and unwavering faith in the “truth” of authority, even when presented with factual evidence or data proving the contrary. This, they say, is faith. But are our politicians God? Should we have the same implicit faith in them and their words? I am not a Christian and even I know the answer to that.
Despite this, good ole’ down home conservatives continue to believe the same snake oil salesmen time and time again. Take the case of David Vitter, US Senator from Louisiana. Although he runs on a Christian platform, it’s well known among Louisiana residents that David Vitter participates in some pretty un-Christian activities outside his church and family life. Across the state, constituants continue to vote for him in elections. This should illustrate that purported Christians are clearly not concerned with the facts but are voting in tow with the conventional belief that Republicans equate to Christians. Not because they necessarily buy what he is selling, but because he has a little (R) by his name on the television, and they associate little (R)s with “friend of Christians.” Perhaps more precisely with, “not a Godless heathen.” But either way, and most ironically, they could not be more wrong. When you finally corner a “conservative” about why they voted for someone who is clearly immoral (Louisiana is just the example – this happens everywhere), after all logic has been exhausted and you have run through every possible “but…”, their answer typically involves something to the effect of “well he doesn’t have a little (D) next to his name, so that’s why I voted for him.” As though (D) stands for demon instead of the far less innocuous Democrat.
This is no different than Tea Party supporters who purport to believe in personal liberty and limited government, but support candidates who have promised (and in some cases have already delivered on those promises) to enact legislation to restrict the very liberty they claim to hold dear. For example, Ron Paul did not support the PATRIOT Act. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all did. This exposes the hypocrisy of voters who want liberty and limited government, but only when their pet causes remain unchallenged. Everyone claims to abhor war, until the prospect of bombing people with different ideologies presents itself. The examples of this are various and sundry, and citing every one of them would be tedious for the both of us.
Conservatives bleat on and on about the disparities between what liberals do and what liberals say, without ever considering the possibility that the very same hypocrisy might be present in their beloved GOP.
Why Ron Paul?
Ron Paul is the only candidate in not only the Republican Primary, but the entire political spectrum, who truly believes in unconditional individual liberty. This includes President Barack Obama, who the Republican nominee will face in 2012. As the President has shown, he is a celebrated orator but rarely follows through on any of his grand promises.
But how do we apply the idea of unconditional individual liberty to the issues being raised today? I’d like to start with defense.
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: few (and possibly none, depending on which Constitutional scholar you ask) military conflicts that the US has entered into since 1942 have been Constitutional acts of war.
Because Ron Paul says it best himself, I want to cite his book The Revolution. “Anyone who advocates the non interventionist foreign policy of the founding fathers can expect to be derided as an Isolationist. I myself have never been an Isolationist. I favor the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and freedom of travel. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seeking change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example. The real isolationists are those who isolate their country in the court of world opinion by pursuing needless belligerence and wars that have nothing to do with legitimate national security concerns.” From this excerpt, we can conclude that Ron Paul makes very clear that his stance on foreign policy is aligned with that of the founding fathers. I’m willing to take it a step further by saying that foreign intrigue and waging trade and militaristic wars on other nations are very much anti-liberty, and not at all what the founders had in mind.
Perhaps most telling is the support that Ron Paul receives from active and retired service men and women. He leads all other candidates combined when it comes to campaign contributions from this demographic.
For hawkish conservatives and members of the GOP, this again exposes extreme hypocrisy, as they purport to cherish and honor veterans and support the military at all costs – as long as “supporting” the military means taxing Americans to pay for prolonged excursions in the deserts of the Middle East. For those who oppose Dr. Paul’s nomination while claiming a desire to avoid conflict, a vote for any candidate other than Dr. Paul is also a logical fallacy as every other candidate has made it clear that they will continue our existing trajectory of foreign intrigue.
The facts are clear: our Founding Fathers did not believe in wars overseas for the purpose of nation-building, and believed that military power should be used only as a defensive measure. Ron Paul is the only candidate consistent with this position.
“What influence have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen the guardians of the liberty of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, needs them not.”
Republicans’ primary accusation of Ron Paul is that his nomination would result in re-election for Barack Obama. This idea is so far outside the realm of logic as to be laughable, yet it is continually perpetuated by the GOP and in the media. In fact, because of Ron Paul’s ardent support of the 10th Amendment (States’ rights), individual liberty and personal responsibility, Ron Paul stands to bring many moderate and even liberal voters to his side.
Although President Obama was expected to relax drug laws and extend equality to the gay community, he has not followed through on these promises, resulting in a disenfranchised group of typically-Democrat voters. Due to Paul’s belief that such issues should be left up to the states, liberal voters can at least feel confident knowing that Paul has no plans to outright diminish or restrict their causes even if he does not personally believe in them. In a society that shared the beliefs of Ron Paul, it is easy to imagine how certain states and municipalities may attract different demographics by passing laws allowing such activities. What is the difference in this stance and President Obama – who has done nothing to deliver on the promises he made, and still does not believe in governing close to the people. What leads anyone to think that these voters, upset with a President that has been an overwhelming failure on all fronts, would not side with a candidate who fights for the very promise of individual liberty?
On the other hand, do you believe any gays or lesbians, stoners or feminists plan to vote for Michele Bachman, Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich? No? I didn’t think so. Not only do these candidates not support your individual liberties, they want to restrict the liberties that these groups seek. It should not be difficult to see why this lie, perpetuated by the GOP and the media, has no substance at all. Ron Paul stands to take more votes from the other side than any other candidate in the running – this is an undeniable fact.
So the question then becomes: Are you so insecure and bigoted that you would not find a friend and ally in gays and stoners if it meant taking this country back? Do your beliefs preclude cooperation with those that do not share them? To some degree, these groups want government out of their lives – isn’t that what you want too?
The Message of Ron Paul
Ron Paul’s message is not pretentious in any way, and if anything he loses a few style points for being a septuagenarian wearing orthopedic shoes. But the office of the President of the United States was never intended to be sexy. And for what little Ron Paul has to gain (he will have served the American people into his 80s if elected to President – not how most of us hoping to retire at 60 envision living out the end of our days) from the Presidency, the Washington insiders running this country for fun and profit, and the machines that perpetuate their reign, have much to lose.
I of course am not some exceptionally gifted person. I’m not the only one to have heard and been responsive to Dr. Paul’s ideals. Millions of people from shore to shore have heard and read the same things I have. We have been reminded of what America was intended to be, and that the government of America works for the people – not the other way around. When would we have realized this if not for Dr. Paul’s work in public service? When would the possibility of real economic and political reform have been pushed so adamantly if not for Dr. Paul? We are being given an exceptional chance to change the political landscape forever and in ways that Barack Obama could not even imagine. It’s our duty to our country and its people to take this opportunity and make the most of it that we possibly can.
Do you believe in liberty? The NDAA authorizes you to be whisked away to military prison without a trial. SOPA grants major corporations the power to discourage competition and censor individuals. The PATRIOT act authorizes warrantless wiretaps. As we speak, America’s municipal police forces are being armed with military grade equipment. Predator drones are already flying in US airspace. These measures are being proposed by and supported by the same Republicans who tell you that none of your liberties will be infringed upon.
The actions of far right republicans and beltway insiders are belligerent, and aimed at expanding their power outside of these United States. It is naïve to think that these people have liberty or the Constitution in mind, as they work tirelessly in Washington to create needless, oppressive legislation and expend blood and treasure in wars abroad. I don’t owe Dr. Paul my life, but I do owe him a debt of gratitude for changing my outlook as a conservative. Truly, after being exposed to Dr. Paul’s ideas, I feel that I am personally and politically more aligned with our Constitution than I could have been otherwise. To that end, I will do whatever I can to spread his message of liberty and ensure that he is the next President of the United States of America, even if that means exposing the hypocrisy of my friends and potential allies. I urge you to support Ron Paul and spread his message to anyone who will hear it.