I've heard a number of computer geeks talking a lot about Ron Paul, a Republican who's part of the Liberty Caucus (a Libertarian entryist group in the Republican party), running for president. I think he would make a terrible president of the United States, more harmful than BushJr, and that whatever movement he commands at present is a dangerous tendency in American society. Before I go into details, first the things that I like about him..
Ron Paul strikes me as being an honest politician operating from a largely principled stand. His voting record shows that he's not a business-as-usual guy - he's known for wide breaks frolm the party line based on conviction. Given the choice between two people with roughly acceptable visions for society, I would certainly give a lot of weight to these characteristics if only one of them stood out in that regard. I further like the stances that he takes with regards to riders and other porkbarrel tactics.
That said, I find his actual positions and what he would likely do if given power to be abominable, on par with someone walking up to me and honestly telling me he's on the way to burn down my house. Integrity alone is not sufficient to make someone a good candidate, even if lack of integrity is a major issue in our political system presently. Like with the dilemma in so many parts of the Arab world that fundamentalist theocratic parties take advantage of, Ron Paul is the wrong kind of saviour, even if we decide that we're living in troubled times.
Ron Paul would do irreperable harm to America's interests in foreign and domestic policy. His message is simple, very different, and is a clear alternative to the corruption we see in government, largely because he would tear down the foundations of modern society without a plausible replacement.
In foreign policy, he is considerably more isolationist than BushJr - BushJr went as far as appointing John Bolton as the US representative in the United Nations. Ron Paul would pull the United States out of the United Nations and NATO, both giving up both the symbolic role of having the headquarters in New York City and crippling the organisation as a mechanism for promoting dialogue between nations. His general position of avoiding alliances with other nations would harm larger interests in protection/promotion of western values - if the United States should ever find it necessary to work with other nations on these types of defense (from cooperation against antiterrorism and money laundering up to proper military conflicts), its task would be made considerably more difficult through this. His refusal to support US government intervention on genocide in Darfur shows a lack of deep concern for their situation.
In domestic policy, he mixes strong christian religious conservativism with the same "tear down the system" intuition. Like most Republicans on the present ballot, he would undo Roe v Wade (my own thoughts on abortion are closer to the European legal consensus than those of either mainstream American party, but I lean towards the pro-abortion side when forced to simplify things that much). While tying these things to notions of appropriate jurisdiction of the federal government (in his view, apparently very narrow), he would tear down church-state divides, protections for the civil liberties of minorities, and particularly equal rights for non-heterosexuals.
He also follows a very property-based notion of environmental protection - practically guaranteeing looting and increased pollution.
Affecting both spheres of government action, he has advocated scrapping the Internal Revenue Service, responsible for funding the state in practically all of its indeavours. It's hard to imagine something more harmful to the state or the society which it serves. Among the parts/programmes of government he explicitly has for the axe, consider the following:
- Federal Reserve (advocates a return to gold-based economics)
- Department of Education
There's a lot more for people who are willing to dig.Starters:
While I'm on the topic of U.S. congresspeople, I recently read up a bit on Senator Feingold, who seems to be a pretty good statesman.
In other news,