Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ron Paul and war

The poor little Greek boy has just emailed me a link to Ron Paul's speech on patriotism. Although Paul himself is not a tremendously inspiring speaker, the text is admirable. I would just like to highlight one section. [Emphasis mine.]
I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power.

The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.

Peaceful, nonviolent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved great political successes by practicing nonviolence, and yet they suffered physically at the hands of the state. But whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.

True patriotism today has gotten a bad name, at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King have been.

Liberals, who withhold their taxes as a protest against war, are vilified as well, especially by conservatives. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. Arguments against a particular policy that endorses a war, once it is started, are always said to be endangering the troops in the field. This, they blatantly claim, is unpatriotic, and all dissent must stop. Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty.

It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security and, for that matter, may even damage our security, is hardly a way to patriotically support the troops.

Who are the true patriots, those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for a war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of a patriot?

Randolph Bourne said that, "War is the health of the state.'' With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a "war psychology'' to justify the expansive role of the state. This includes the role the Federal Government plays in our lives, as well as in our economic transactions.

NuLabour, of course, has excelled itself in getting embroiled in wars: the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Even those on the Left have suggested that the "War on Terror" is, really, little more than convenient rhetoric—designed to keep the population in a state of fear and induce psychological dependency on the state.

If that were not enough, we now have another "war" to contend with.
The battle to deal with climate change needs to be fought like "World War Three", the head of the Environment Agency has warned.

"This is World War Three - this is the biggest challenge to face the globe for many, many years. We need the sorts of concerted, fast, integrated and above all huge efforts that went into many actions in times of war.

"We're dealing with this as if it is peacetime, but the time for peace on climate change is gone—we need to be seeing this as a crisis and emergency," she said.

Needless to say, she is talking absolute bollocks, but she has learned the NuLabour rhetoric well; after all, if this is a war, and an effectively near-infinite one at that, then many will feel that it is more than enough to "to justify the expansive role of the state".

One may disagree, of course; one might write off Ron Paul as a lone nut. Except, of course, it is tricky to do so when he has managed to raise so much money from ordinary people.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $4.2 million in nearly 24 hours.

Paul, the Texas congressman with a libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day.

The $4.2 million represented online contributions from more than 37,000 donors...

Let us hope that those libertarians in Britain would be as keen...


JuliaM said...

"...one might write off Ron Paul as a lone nut. Except, of course, it is tricky to do so when he has managed to raise so much money from ordinary people."

I hope you aren't taking amount of money raised as an indication of anything other than how gullible a lot of people can be...? If not, I'd point you to the example of one Howard Dean, who launched a similarly meteoric campaign, well funded by the Internet, only to crash and burn spectacularly when people realised he was absolutely barking mad.

And there's nothing 'lone' about Ron Paul's nuttiness - there are a lot of similarly nutty 'Truther' followers...

Roger Thornhill said...

I actually like much of what Dr Ron Paul says.

He wants a small state, an end to income taxes ("all your earnings are belong us"), supports property rights, freedom of speech and the Constitution. He is against Corporatism and Welfarism.

I doubt he will secure the nomination, but if he did, I do think he would be the best person against Hilary.

Anonymous said...

"Let us hope that those libertarians in Britain would be as keen..."

I truly hope so as well...

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is a real patriot and a real conservative unlike Bushco. He has the support of the libertarians for many good reasons not just his low taxes/ small government stance.

There is also speculation that he is a 9/11 truther and will launch a fair and open investigation into 9/11. This is where a lot of his support comes from...people who believe that the USA has been sold out to the NWO....the truth movement etc...the michigan militia types who want the current government overthrown and a real American government put in it's place. You wouldn't believe how many people feel this way.

America has been without leadership that respects the constitution, the American people and the rest of the world for to long now. To dickheads like Bush the ideals that America was founded on is nothing but a joke. The country has been hijacked and many feel that Dr.Paul can give it back to them. They want to see the current leadership hang for too many reasons to list here.

Is he a nutter? Probably. But he is honest and talks a lot of sense as well. The Bushes and the Clintons and all the rest are really playing ball for the same team but Ron Paul kind of stands alone.

I'm a dual citizen and will be voting for him.

Trooper Thompson said...

Ron Paul is no nut, he's a conservative, libertarian constitutionalist, and he's blowing away the Republican opposition, and showing them up for the fakes that they are. There's nothing conservative in suspending habeas corpus and growing the state to the gargantuan size it is now in the US, courtesy of the GOP/Democrat puppet show.

The mainstream media have tried to ignore him, but people like the message of freedom, it brings people together

James Higham said...

Ron Paul is the goods and that's why I run his banner in my sidebar. He makes simple sense and for that reason will never get in. Plus he's getting on a bit now.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happens to Dr Paul, his campaign has been a phenomenon. There has been an explosion of interest in, indeed enthusiam for, libertarianism in the US, especially amonst web-savy youngsters. The future is bright.

Trooper Thompson said...

Stop being defeatest! His campaign is growing by the day, raising more money than any other from more people.

Anonymous said...

As a gynaecologist Dr Paul is well qualified to deal with politicians.

Anonymous said...

DK - you know I love you. But Ron Paul is an absolute nut. Other than in polls that his supporters freep, he's languishing in the low single-digits.

The people you see driving cars with Ron Paul bumper stickers usually also have a confusing array of other bumper stickers advocating various 'alternative' causes, and can in general be described as 'disaffected'.

I consider myself a libertarian; I consider you one.

I consider Ron Paul an orthodox anti-semitic isolationist backwoods truther crank.

He's also got well-documented support from several pretty nasty white supremacist groups, which make you wonder why they'd like him so much.

The money is amazing, but in a country of 300 million, not an indicator of any underlying Ron Paul 'movement'.

Blognor Regis said...

Did you see that recent piece Jay Jardine linked to which said income taxes, unconsitutional apparently, allowed prohibition in the US (and poss parts of Canada) because it gave Uncle Sam revenue from a sourse other than duty. It was only when tax revenues when down after the Wall Street Crash they repealed prohibition.

Trooper Thompson said...



"He's also got well-documented support from several pretty nasty white supremacist groups, which make you wonder why they'd like him so much."

Well documented by who? In any case, irrelevant. Saddam Hussein loved 'The Godfather' Does that mean Francis Coppola is a leading Ba'athist? (Answer: no it doesn't, it's a straw man argument)

"Ron Paul an orthodox anti-semitic isolationist backwoods truther crank"

orthodox? well, he believes in following the Constitution. If you are against that, explain why.

anti-semitic? Worth a try, eh Martin. Any evidence, other than the fact he doesn't support handing billions of tax dollars to Israel, or indeed any other country?

isolationist? He believes in national sovereignty and not invading other countries for no good reason. That's a bad thing, is it?

backwoods? whatever

truther? Find a quote that indicates that. He is supported by truthers, certainly and lots of other disparate groups, such as pro-gun groups, and according to you white supremacists. But whoever supports him, he's not beholden to any special interests. At least his money comes from ordinary people, not big donations from shady lobby groups. He also, amongst other things, gets a lot of money from serving members of the armed forces - does that make him a militaristic nut?

He's a fiscal conservative, pro constitution, pro 2nd Amendment, pro individual liberty etc down the line - so, blow it out yer arse, pal

M. Simon said...

Ron Paul is so right.

War is never the way to get a new government. Marching in the streets is better.

Take Burma......

Tomrat said...

Just looking at Ron Paul's website on the various issues and his stance and noticed and interesting thing about his take on global warming: he doesn't have one.

I'm not being deliberately rude- I think he has very cleverly shifted the arguement on environmental concerns back from the looney leftist fringe and has instead confronted real environmental issues, such as wholesale pollution of land not owned by the polluter and civil rights to sue said polluters. This is encouraging - whether you believe in AGW or not (I dont) most politicians merely use it today to capitalise politically and consolidate a power base amongst the climate luddites.

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