Show me you really care

As I mentioned before, the beauty of having Ron Paul as a presidential candidate is the turd-in-the-punchbowl effect he has on the defenders of the political status quo, whether “left” or “right,” in our midst.  This time we have a nice twofer from the liberal camp (one, two), wherein we learn, among other things, that Ron Paul isn’t really a civil libertarian because his opposition to the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs isn’t based on any genuine concern for civil liberties but rather opposition to federal legislation.  Proof of this is that he also opposes the Civil Rights Act.  Now, if you assume that a federal law is the only thing standing between relative freedom for blacks and the return of Jim Crow, and that “states’ rights” is just code for “oppression of minorities,” then I guess you might have a point.  On the other hand, the Patriot Act and its various offshoots are pretty clearly about making it easier for the feds to trample on whatever rights U.S. subjects–pardon me, citizens–are still, more or less, permitted to enjoy.  Also, the implication that the War on Drugs is somehow not a civil rights issue, especially considering how it disproportionately screws over blacks, is just absurd (not to mention ironic, coming from people who are apparently so concerned about the welfare of the poor and minorities).

Even more ridiculous, though, is the idea that he’s not actually anti-war.  It’s just that he doesn’t care enough about foreigners to drop bombs on them.  No, seriously:

But the nature of his anti-war stance is fundamentally different from that of liberal opposition to any given war. The tipoff is in his opposition to foreign aid, and his anti-United Nations position: he’s anti-war because the rest of the world just isn’t worth it.

And what exactly does “liberal opposition to any given war” mean in practice?  Voting for a “peace” candidate, who, once in office, proceeds to continue prosecuting the wars liberals oppose while expanding them into new areas?  At least ABL is honest when she writes, “So, am I monster for caring more about my uterus and the rights of minorities and the underclass than I am about the victims of drone strikes in a foreign land? Maybe. But I’m ok with it.”

Not to get too into trying to divine motive here, but it sure seems like the real problem is that certain liberals just hate seeing a conservative take a more principled stance on their issues, while their savior, the glorious Obamalord, continues to prove that he has no principles.

But even if it’s all true, and Paul really doesn’t give two shits about civil liberties and it’s just all about hating the federal government—who cares?   If you’re rotting in jail on drug charges and somebody comes along and tells you you’re free to go, are you going to question their motives before you agree to leave?  Only if you’re a fool.  Or a liberal, apparently.

The Beauty of Ron Paul

Let me get the caveats out of the way first.  First, I don’t think Ron Paul has a chance in hell of ever being a presidential nominee, much less of actually ever getting elected president.  Second, even if he did manage, by some freak accident, to get elected, I don’t think a Paul presidency would be the panacea that some of his more rabid supporters seem to believe it would be (same goes for Nader, by the way).  In other words, I don’t think Ron Paul is a savior or a saint, although I do think that the cries of “reactionary” by certain leftish types are a bit overstated and based largely on ignorance of what his actual positions are and the ridiculous assumption that the government we’re currently saddled with is the result of some kind of inevitable “progress” and that any talk of rolling it back is just a barely concealed yearning to return to the dark ages, or some such nonsense.

But anyway, on to the point.  The great thing about Ron Paul is that he has this effect on the so-called conservatives in our midst:

Libertarians and Conservatives are as different as Libertarians and Liberals. The truth is libertarians are the worst form of political affiliation in the nation. Combining the desire of economic greed, with the amoral desire to promote any behavior regardless of its cost to our culture is a stark departure from the intent of the Founding Fathers.

And given the fact that the Ron Paul-toting, uber-disrespectful and, in many ways, disruptive ballot stuffing has wrecked the straw poll results, pinging completely unelectable candidates in two of the top three slots, perhaps more significance should be paid to the straw poll to be conducted by the conference that happens in the fall called the “Values Voters Conference.”

You might think Ron Paul had showed up at the church dance with 20 friends, all of them stumbling-down-drunk, and wagged his dick at the ladies before peeing on the Rice Krispie treats and passing out.  And while I’m at it, let me just point out the absolutely ham-fisted construction of that second paragraph, not to mention the clunky compound adjectives and bizarre word choices: “Ron Paul-toting”?  “uber-disrespectful”? “pinging”?

The argument is even more bizarre, though pretty much standard fare as far as conservative critiques of libertarianism go.  Libertarians don’t “desire economic greed,” they desire economic self-determination, even if some of them confuse this idea with apologetics for corporatism.  As for the idea that they desire to “promote any behavior regardless of its cost to our culture”: 1) there’s a difference between promoting a behavior and opposition to throwing people in jail for engaging in said behavior; and 2) I’d say the desire to repress certain behaviors is more of a threat to “our culture”—a culture supposedly built on respect for individual liberty—than a few people smoking weed or “gay marriage.”

Those who don’t understand the first point are idiots.  Those who do yet still advocate punishing people for engaging in behavior they disapprove of are asshole authoritarians who don’t deserve any respect.  As for the second point, I’ll just add that it’s a bit ironic seeing self-described conservatives breaking out such collectivist chestnuts to justify pushing people around.

Libertarian elements, because of their strange combination of policies that add up to anarchy without moral limits, don’t mix with conservative ideals.

That’s right.  Let’s get rid of the conservative ideals then and bring on the anarchy.

(Also, I have to say, I really love that part of the outrage directed at the Paulistas is because one of them called Dick Cheney a war criminal.  This is described as “slandering a public servant.”  I’m not sure which is funnier: the idea that Dick Cheney is not a war criminal, or that his career in government could somehow be described as public service.)