Opinions

Ron Paul: wrong leader, wrong generation

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The Republican primaries are fast approaching and so far it's quite the war of the words over who can act like the most outrageously psychotic extremist. One candidate, at least according to what seems like half the internet, stands above all that. Any discussion related to politics online is almost inevitably going to include a plug for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. These mentions happen even in contexts apparently incongruous with Paul's political positions-- any YouTube video of a statement by a left-wing intellectual like Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn will have a comment by some well-meaning radical suggesting we vote for Paul.

Of course, internet comments are probably not the best indicators of anything other than the fact that it's far easier to click "post" than it is to think for a few seconds, but in this case they're particularly revealing, as Ron Paul is well-known as a candidate with a strong internet-backed campaign. Presumably, this would reveal his support base is comprised mostly of the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s. This generation gap is striking-- Paul is old enough to be the grandfather of most of his supporters. Not that there is anything wrong with being 76, but one would think that somebody whose support is so concentrated in one generation would somehow be in touch with the values of that generation, which Congressman Paul, who appears to be an extremely intelligent and conscientious public servant, certainly is not.

Paul is a traditional conservative Christian: pro-life, anti-gay, anti-science creationist. All positions that are completely inconsistent with the views of the average college-aged voter. Paul's trick for getting around these issues is a bizarre fetishisation of the power of state governments. He seems to have a somewhat irrational hatred for the federal government, but does not extend that to state governments-- a possible consequence of representing a Texas district in congress. What reason does one have to believe that state governments are going to be any less tyrannical than the federal government? Paul justifies this by invoking the constitution, the following of which is clearly more important to Paul than actually opposing authoritarianism. And he uses this method to deflect concerns about social issues. Yes, he is anti-gay, he'd say, but it's okay because he supports dealing with it on the state level. Sometimes, he gives this a bizarre spin, such as his stated opposition to sodomy laws but finding the technical issue of which court challenges the law more important than removing the unjust law itself.

From this it's clear that Paul is more of a radical decentralist than an anti-authoritarian. He is also a strict constitutionalist, but that seems to take a backseat, as he is perfectly all right with state law violating the constitution-- he supports allowing states to perform religious tests for public office candidates despite the fact that this is a gross violation of the First Amendment.

Then there are some positions he takes that serve to highlight why Paul should be relegated to appealing to a certain anarcho-capitalist fringe rather than the wider voting public. Paul's semi-unique glorification of state governments reaches the level of impractical extremism In a 1988 interview with noted conservative William Buckley, Paul outlined his view that the fbi should be abolished and states should handle criminal matters in the same way sovereign nations do, suggesting a criminal crossing state lines would have to be extradited to the state in which they committed the crime. This would be a logistical nightmare. This position, among others, shows a resistance to pragmatism, which is the real reason behind a lack of popular support for Ron Paul. His positions on issues of education and health care, albeit sincere, also showcase his leanings towards extremism. Despite Americans' general conservatism, most voters are not prepared to eliminate the Department of Education, Medicaid and Social Security.

The main reason that Paul is an odd choice for the current generation is his ignorance over many internet issues that are going to be major debates in the near future. Namely, Paul opposes legislating net neutrality, giving the inexplicable reason that it would increase internet regulation. He has admitted that he doesn't understand the issue-- this in itself isn't a concern, but given the demographic that backs Paul, it's a salient point to make about his supporters.

Paul's certainly a straight-shooter who can hold a consistent and principled opinion. Additionally, he has a number of "hooks" for younger voters, like liberalisation of drug laws. However, he is also far from a pragmatic candidate for all Americans and more closely resembles a radical representative of a small libertarian niche. Were he elected president, not only would the country be deadlocked for four years with a series of vetos, but many of his policies would end up being hugely unpopular. The point is not that nobody should vote for Ron Paul, it's that only a small sub-section of libertarians should be voting for him and there's no reason people who do not support his extremist economics should be supporting a Paul presidency.

If the Republicans want to stand any chance at defeating Obama in 2012, they should be looking in the opposite direction from the current crop of candidates-- and that includes Ron Paul.

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Comments

It\'s very disingenuous to write an article about a presidential candidate -- or anyone for that matter, with the degree of ignorance that you have displayed.

You should put in references to any conjecture you claim -- most of the stuff you mention is mere repetition from inarticulate punditry anyway. Secondly, actually research the positions and cogitate on their meanings _without_ the obvious Pavlovian anti-Paul sentiment you inately have.

There are very valid reasons against a Paul presidency, but you have not made any compelling argument in this article.

A few words from a Ron Paul supporter who is no longer a kid. The appeal of Ron Paul to many young people is that he is indeed a different kind of politician. He does not pander, he is not owned by special interests, he is moral and has integrity and he is blatantly honest. He follows the laws and expects our government to follow the law as well. That law would be the Constitution. The constitution defined the powers of the US federal government, which were supposed to be minimal. The states were intended to be mostly self-governing. This is not a fetish, this is the law. If you don\'t like the law, amend the Constitution, but don\'t ignore it.

Would the states be any less tyrannical? The people would be closer to the state government and theoretically have more influence in the legislative process. They would also have 50 options.

I\'m not familiar with the religious tests you mention. I have never known Ron Paul to support a states issue that would override the freedoms guaranteed to citizens in the Constitution. I might add that the Patriot Act is a direct violation of the Bill of Rights and Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate running in either party which supports repealing it.

On a personal level, Ron Paul believes that homosexuality is immoral but defends their rights. He voted to repeal DADT.

He supports pro-life legislation because he believes that fetuses are people and therefore their right to live would supercede their mothers right to choose to kill them. Since a murder of a pregnant woman involves two counts, there does seem to be precedence for this.

Ron Paul is not radical, nor anarchanistic, nor a fringe candidate. There is nothing radical in insisting that others follow the rules. It amazes me that fans in a football game would become violent if one team was allowed to circumvent the rules of the game, but will say nothing about the legislation spewing out of the corrupt culture of a Congress that we now have. To top that, anyone that says we should follow the rules is labeled as radical and not being pragmatic? So corruption is just pragmatic now?

The Department of Education was created in 1980. I went entirely through school without it and I guarantee you that I got a better education that the kids graduating these days. Our population is STUPID. This is a total waste of money.

The government is itching to regulate the internet. They will do this in the name of security. This is not a good thing.

Ron Paul created a plan to cut money out of the government. He does believe that social security is unconstitutional, but has promised to make good on the money the government owes those currently in the system. Once again, he is the ONLY candidate to do so. By ending the wars, there would be enough money to do this. Candidates from both parties are putting social security, veteran benefits and whatever else they can steal from the old and poor on the chopping block so they can continue this absurd policy of war in the middle east.

I would love to see a Ron Paul presidency. He is truly the only candidate that is concerned about the individual American citizen. I am not a libertarian; you could say I am a disillusionist. And I am not alone. It is a sad state of affairs when common sense is labeled as radicalism.

Ron Paul can beat Obama. He has the most independent support, and support from disillusioned Democrats and Republicans as well. He\'ll have a harder time getting the GOP nomination, but if they don\'t nominate him, they\'ve already given it to Obama.

When someone writes an article such as yours, there are two options. One, you have not thoroughly researched Ron Paul; check out his youtube videos or ronpaulflix . com and maybe you will understand why he believes the way he does. Most of it is to counter the corruption in our government. Option two is that you are deliberately misrepresenting Ron Paul in the hope that voters will not vote for him.

It is very, very important that Ron Paul be elected. Our country is going downhill at an alarming rate. Our economy is on the verge of collapse and the freedoms of American citizens are being whittled away gradually. Do you really think it makes us safer to be fondled at the airport? Is it worth it?

Criticizing Ron Paul on the Internet with an open comments section? You are a brave soul, man.

Your caricature of Paul is, quite simply, completely off-base. He\'s running for President, not Emperor, which is why young folks like him. Quite frankly, we\'re sick of the failed policies of the D.C. elitists who have:

1) Trampled our rights. Most of the Bill of Rights is being ignored or actively attacked thanks to the PATRIOT Act, PROTECT IP, Military Commissions Act of 2006, the new defense bill that just passed the senate, etc. About the only thing we can be confident about in our Bill of Rights is that we won\'t need to quarter soldiers for the foreseeable future.

2) Squandered trillions on unwanted wars, pyramid scheme social security plans, caused the value of a dollar to drop by half in the course of our lifetimes, bailed out huge banks, etc.

3) Taken the nanny state to new heights, assuming authority and thus politicizing everything from drug law to marriage to education. And doing a horrible job at it.

Paul\'s plan isn\'t perfect, but it\'s far and away the best alternative to the status quo.

Sure he is pro-life, but \"anti-gay, anti-science creationist\" are just straight up LIES!

he is not anti-gay. He is FOR gay marriage and he does not believe homosexuality is a sin. Where you getting Anti-gay from?

He is not anti-science. He is a doctor. But when it comes to who has the IRGHT answer to how life came about, he doesn\'t think either side has 100% proof.

Get it right..

You lose credibility when you make up stuff, and you would, when you don\'t want to see someone like Paul, an honest man, gain grounds with the voters...

Typical left-skewed \"journalism\" in which to believe in your heart (without evidence) that a missing link (between apes and man) exists is considered \"science\" and yet explains nothing about how matter and energy arrived in the universe. (OK let\'s say apes did become men, still, how did atoms get here? And what did they evolve from?)

No this is not an off-target post, this is the crux of the matter: those who don\'t support Ron Paul typically don\'t grasp the reality of his views -- or reality in general.

To call Paul anti-gay (when under his Presidency there\'d likely be more states choosing to legalize gay marriage)is ham-fisted and innaccurate. As a libertarian, Paul\'s personal views on gay marriage are irrelevant -- it\'s up to states to decide, he says. He is in effect gay-neutral -- as the government should be.

Further, the idea that Paul\'s support is largely 20 and 30 somethings is false -- the Tea Party is movement of middle Americans, not college students.

One thing\'s for sure, the notion that liberals are the bastion of peace and personal freedoms has -- thanks to Ron Paul -- been proven a myth.

The most hilarious part of this is that Dominik\'s story isn\'t really about Ron Paul, but about the idiocy of many of his supporters. And what do we see? Said idiotic supporters flaming via the comments for exactly the reasons why Dominik explained they were idiotic.
Some people\'s kids...

O, a Canadian writer talks about Ron Paul... That\'s ok, you guys bearly know the concept of freedom and liberty, because it was handed down to you. And of course you don\'t understand the distinction between federal and state government, because it\'s our constitution, not yours.

The reason people support him is because, whatever his personal views, he has stated and reinforced for years that it is not his position in federal government to dictate what others should do.

You will never agree with a politician 100%, but wouldn\'t it be nice if there was a politician who said \"it doesn\'t matter what my personal opinion is, but what the Constitution allows and prevents me from doing\"? That\'s what Ron Paul has consistently done.

What\'s consistently striking to me is the fetish that certain people have with referring to that particular philosophy as \"extremist,\" \"loony,\" or any other synonym as such.

Beyond that, there is not \"bizarre fetishisation\" of state governments. Anyone with even the smallest idea of the original intent of federalism that this country was founded on understands that the Executive branch has far exceeded the explicit powers granted it by the Constitution. Now, some people may justify to themselves a very generous interpretation of the text of the document, but even the most creative \"living document\" proponent, if being honest with himself looking in the mirror, knows that the federal government has taken more power than technically allowed.

But I guess that\'s \"bizarre fetishisation\" now, huh? Just because you don\'t like the Consitution doesn\'t mean it doesn\'t still exist.


As far as the claim that he supports violating the Constitution to perform religious tests for public office candidates, I could not find anything on that topic after sound several different internet searches for it. While I\'m not saying I wouldn\'t have found something if I kept trying, I\'d appreciate a reference since I just couldn\'t find something.

Interestingly, in a column written by someone who appeared to be significantly anti-Republican, I found this quote:

\"Only Ron Paul broke ranks, saying government isn’t meant to mold people to fit a religious test, but to assure liberty. \'In this country you’re allowed to be atheist,\' he said.\" (Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register)

You also suggested that Paul would eliminate Social Security. He has repeatedly said that he will not do that, that all people who are owed Social Security would not have it taken from them, but that he would offer people the opportunity to opt out in lieu of their own personal savings plan if they choose. That\'s a far cry from elimination. I get this crazy feeling that some of your other facts may be just as accurate...

Overall, I\'d infer that to you, if you had to choose between the status quo (of an elected official who can\'t improve the failed education system, the staggeringly in-the-hole economy, the anti-constitutional central government overreach, and the continued path to no real big picture fixes or changes) or a candidate who strongly believes in the Constitution, opposes having central government figures\' view points forced by law onto citizens, and generally espouses freedom an liberty...you\'d choose the former.



Military guy here..
Most of us want Ron in office. We all know the real intentions of our military. It\'s all about nation building.
Come over to the middle east and you\'ll see...

Why are the media and these political opinion-manipulators so afraid of support expressed over the Internet by Ron Paul supporters? They don\'t like the open platform of the Web? People who disagree with them can\'t think? Only they are entitled to an opinion? Sad stuff. Ron Paul will be good for the US and the world. Even if he is anti-gay in personal life (which isn\'t clear), it shows true leadership character to be gay-netural or pro-gay in public policy which is what really counts. The same holds for the woman\'s freedom to choose issue. Both the polarised extremes of the US, living symbioticallly off each other, don\'t want liberty, independent thought and economic freedoms, all interconnected, and dangerous to their strangleholds.

I support Ron Paul. I\'m 53, so I\'m far from \"a kid\". I have a professional degree, self-employed and have created over 1,000 jobs over the past 16 years. Ron Paul\'s support is made up of people of all ages, all races, and all socioeconomic classes. Your attempts to marginalize him and his support base is baseless and only serves to convince more people that Ron Paul is the anti-establishment candidate who will serve the People and not the Elite Oligarchs who have all but destroyed our nation.

\"Despite Americans\' general conservatism, most voters are not prepared to eliminate the Department of Education, Medicaid and Social Security.\"

That\'s because most voters don\'t know what impact these programs and departments have on this country in the long run.

Your essay, while written nicely, is really lacking in any understanding of Ron Paul\'s ideas.

Seems like Dominik Matusik relishes wars and the death and destruction it brings to innocent people.
Also kinda seems like Dominik Matusik doesn\'t value his freedom and the freedom of others.
Dominik Matusik can do one!!

People will see through your bull.

Sam, UK

You lost me at \"seems to have a somewhat irrational hatred for the federal government\".

about Paul\'s \'irrational hatred for the federal government\', here is one primary consideration. in KS (where I live), many people are opposed to abortion; whereas in CA (where you apparently live), many people are OK with abortion. wouldn\'t it be nice if we could each affect the law as we see fit and thereafter live together harmoniously? the same argument holds true for gay marriage, drug law, capital punishment, and a whole host of other issues... just a thought.

Mr. Matusik,
It is quite obvious that you did not research Dr. Paul before writing this article. Instead, you simply chose what talking heads have been putting out for years as the basis for your article. You are wrong on so many levels. I find it disgusting that a journalist would put forth something like this without having done his homework first.
Do you know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism? It doesn\'t appear that you do judging by your article.
Previous posts have pointed out relevant facts to you. Please look into the things mentioned and do some research. You might find yourself in the position of needing to write a retraction. Articles like this make you look ill-informed.
I will make a point about one thing in your article...Dr. Paul is so \"anti-gay\" (your words) that my gay daughter supports him.....
I urge you to do your own research and be part of the solution, not the problem.
Have a great day!

Reading this is like diving into 6 inches of water - painful and dangerously ignorant.

Well, while I don\'t agree with most of this article, and while I\'m a staunch voluntaryist and Ron Paul supporter (But I do agree that opposing the federal government while allowing state governments to adopt some authoritarian stances IS not enough, even though a president doesn\'t have much power under the constitution to change that) I thought it was well balanced and much more thoughtful than most \"hit-pieces\" I read on Salon or Slate. If more people wrote like this, we could have a much more civilized debate.

I generally consider it unprofessional to respond to comments on my own article and, in keeping with that, I won\'t address any of the points brought up here as all that can lead to is an escalated flame war. I\'ve seen it happen and all it leads to is 50 comments of text each longer than the article itself and 20 comments of \"Nazi!\".

I will, however, note that if you\'re a 35-year old pro-state government libertarian, this article isn\'t aimed towards you at all. The target audience was intended to be high-school and college-aged liberals, social democrats, centrists etc. many of whom support Paul simply because he\'s \"different\". The honesty and straightforwardness that Paul shows is something we should be expecting from ALL politicians and not supporting someone on the opposite side of the spectrum from us just because he happens to be honest. I\'m part of the target audience for my own article, by the way: I\'m a young left-leaning individual who, were I an American citizen, would consider voting for Paul were the alternative Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Additionally, I regret using the term \"anti-science\"- that was harsh and unfair. But the point about Dr. Paul\'s baffling disbelief in evolutionary science stands.

Thanks for the comments (even those of you calling me a moronic tool of the Zionist corporate media)!

Wow, you really displayed how ignorant and irresponsible you are. Ron Paul may be many things, but he is NOT anti-gay or anti-science. He was one of six Republics that voted to over-turn Don\'t Ask Don\'t Tell, he is one of only a handful of Republicans that is against a Federal Marriage Amendment, he does support DOMA and allowing each state to decide whether or not to allow gay marriage but he himself does not have problem with it. During his 2008 presidential run one of his closest campaign managers was an openly gay man, and as an OBGYN he has said many times that he doesn\'t believe that homosexuals choose to be homosexuals; he has said many times it is much more complicated than that, and that SCIENCE is only recently beginning to get an understanding of it. You have completely disgraced yourself...You are a lazy, sloppy journalist.

You state your target audience is \"high-school and college-aged liberals, social democrats, centrists etc\" well im 26 and in college, was a democrate but changed republican to help Paul in the primarys. I believe in soicailism to a degree. No centralist will vote for Paul so you dont need to even talk to them. So do I qualify as your target audience?

I\'m a Ron Paul supporter because he says what he means and means what he says. I auctually voted for Bush for the same reason. The reason people my age like him isn\'t because hes \"different\", it\'s because he speaks common sense and auctually has goals and logical points. Its hard to say what the other canidates would do. Look at Obama .. \"Change\" Obama care is about the only thing I can tell thats different, and being forced to pay insurance companys isnt exactly change from the old government agenda, more like a continuation of the mafia and other organized crime rings. So why did he get the Nobel Peace prize? \"Change\"? Anyways I\'m getting offtopic this isnt about Obama.

I know you don\'t want the comments to turn into a flame war, however, I believe that the reason you don\'t reply is because you cannot logicly hold your ground to the points argued without being forced to crawdad and retract your article like mentioned above. You would consider voting for Paul vs Obama or Clinton. Why? If hes the wrong leader why would you consider him? I mean really man, it sounds like your just writing this article to get paid, and you don\'t know what your talking about when doing so.

The reason he wants the states to decide instead of the feds is because state government can focus on auctually representing the views of thier people more accurately than the federal government. Plus thats how our government was set up and why it was set up taht way. If the people in your state think it can manage a certain \"problem\" a different way they should beable to try, especially when the origonal way of dealing with it is proven uneffective and even counter-productive, like the war on drugs.

Anyways people bring him up because the media trys to rediculously slander him while throwing some paint on a rusty bucket and selling it like gold. We simply want them to state why and or how they came to the logical conclusion that they came to, if they can explain it well they may convince us. So tell me, what was the goal of this article? If you want people to understand the real issues you should be pointing them AT Paul not away from him. It appears this article is simply propaganda aimed at persuading the shortsighted voters otherwise. News flash, Ron Paul supporters are his supporters because they are not short sighted, if they were so easily convinced to vote for a \"different\" canidate they would be looking at Cain. We like Paul because he logicly makes sense and is honest in his attempts to address the real problems. Which is why most of his grass root supporters simply say,\"look into him dont let me convince you, research the canidates and decide for yourself\".

The fact that the media pushes the \"Just Vote\" campain is the reason they have been able to propaganda so much. If you dont know what the person stands for you shouldnt \"just vote\" thats horrible. vote for who you want to represent you, if you dont like any of them then DONT VOTE. or write in your own name. simply picking a name just ot say you voted undermines the whole process.

He never said he was a creationist. He was a medical doctor with a degree in biology.

Why didn\'t you put that in you article.

Here is how you can tell that Ron Paul is a creationist.

If Ron Paul says, I am a creationist. He has never said that.

If this is the only dirt you can find on Dr. Paul - non-substantive social issues that, in the end, regardless of what way you fall on them, people are going to do what they are going to do, people are going to believe what they will believe - then Dr. Paul wins.

If you wanted to lodge a credible assault, why not try keeping up to the intellectual argument on central bank policy - the financing of US treasuries to pay for \"other\" people\'s mistakes (the greatest ponzi - EVER). Or what about doing the math on $16T, where cuts, immediate cuts, are essential given that the country requires at least a 4% uninterrupted growth rate, just to remain solvent.

Ultimately, Dominik is uninformed of the issues and elects, instead, to disqualify Paul on Internet regulation. Wow. Even though Google would have Paul\'s back on this, the writer doesn\'t even begin to address Paul\'s policy inadequacies. So Dominik remains dogmatic and fains omniscience like the Keynesian philosophy (s)he has no doubt recently learned. Curious: would you actually employ this approach when participating in the market place? And if so, is anybody buying?

I would consider Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney the wrong leaders, wrong generation candidates because of their status quo political antics, but to call a man who defends the constitution, civil liberties, peace and prosperity an irrational candidate is confusing. It was Ron Paul that warned us about the housing bubble, the debt crisis, the collapse of the US dollar, the high employment and recessions; basically, the entire collapse of our economy.
When did qualities like wisdom, foresight, honesty and integrity become irrational attributes?

This opinion piece lacks sarcasm and irony. Opinions are not expected to have the facts, but there should be substance in place if there are none. Any good opinion writer also has a grasp on logical skills of writing out one\'s opinion so facts could be understood in a different way. This writer appears to have plagiarized the opinion of someone else who had fleshed out their own opinion. He seems to have agreed with it and written a similar opinion. Maybe he was surfing blogs or watching Jon Stewart and latched onto the opinion that made him feel good about himself. I\'m not claiming he actually did any of this because I simply do not have any evidence to prove it. But it is concerning because the writer claims to know a lot about how American Republicans would vote. He sure does have one hell of secret there.

I am 61 and your article is tripe, someone is obviously paying you to bend objectivity and reason. Shame on you and yours.

Yeah, I wish I got paid for writing articles in an undergraduate newspaper. Unfortunately, Paul supporters are going to have to deal with the fact that not everybody who disagrees with them is a war-mongering neo-conservative paid for by corporate America. Do I think the people commenting here are paid for by the Paul campaign? Of course not, so please refrain from making the same assumptions about me- it\'s insulting.

I support Ralph Nader, because Paul\'s economics don\'t appeal to me and Randian free markets are a dangerous delusion. Sorry for my internet blasphemy.

Wake up USA. Dr Paul is your man for president. This is your one chance to break free from the stranglehold of Zionist traitors who want to send your young men to war on behalf of Israhell. He will stop sending billions of your hard earned tax dollars to Israel, which is a wealthy nuclear power with the 4th largest army in the world. This free loading state is the single biggest recipient of US foreign aid and its bleeding your country dry. Dr Paul will put America first and put an end to this free-loading. Happy new year from the UK.