Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Andrew Sullivan endorses

Ron Paul. That ought to put him over the top, as Sullivan has such a following in the Republican base.

But seriously: libertarianism "works" if there is virtuous self-restraint, not exactly something that Sullivan champions.

Discussions - 26 Comments

Dr. Paul was on Glenn Beck tonight, and his presentation and articulation of his "radical" viewpoints during the one-hour interview came across very well--to the point that even Beck, formerly critical of Ron Paul and threatened by a dangerously radical sect of people who claim to support Paul, seemed to warm up to him and his views. If anyone was watching during the hour, the interview is probably going to give him a bit of a bump. He did address the issue of libertarianism and morality, and I remember him answering in a way that was satisfactory.

"I have witnessed five major wars in my lifetime, and I know how swiftly storm clouds can gather on a peaceful horizon. The next time a Saddam Hussein takes over a Kuwait, or North Korea brandishes a nuclear weapon, will we be ready to respond?

In the end, it all comes down to leadership. That is what this country is looking for now. It was leadership here at home that gave us strong American influence abroad and the collapse of imperial Communism. Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile because they might just wind up lowering our flag."--Ron Reagan

This Ron is why I can't support that Ron.

As for Sullivan, well, by their wingbeats ye shall know the Flying Monkeys. Also by the discarded banana peels.

I live in Ron Paul's Congressional district, but I have never voted for him. While I tend toward Republican, and Paul's (my) district is very safe for him (even after Delay's redistricting in 2002)--I am also a contrarian who refuses to be burned more than once.

In 1988--as a dumb poli sci undergraduate--I cast my first Presidential vote for Ron Paul, the libertarian candidate for president. I thought I was pure, compared to the "card carrying" ACLUer Dukakis and the more than lackluster Bush. I liked Paul's abolish taxes and big government message. Of course, at the time i lives in Massachussetts.

Much to my dismay, Paul became my representative some ten years later. I happened to now live in Texas. I still hated taxes and big government, but Paul was so ideological that he forgot to be an "agent" as the political science literature put it. He was so pure, he voted against any pork--including that which may have gone to his own district. Against the poli sci literature, my district nonetheless kept re-electing him. Out of name recognition? Franking? Redistricting in his favor? Principle? Who knows?

Nonetheless, he is a bad Rep. But that is no problem for anyone else other than those like me who happen to live in his Congressional district.

As an older man I realize that Paul's Presidency would be a complete disaster. He would be isolationist on principled "populist" grounds. He is no different than Kucinich in this regard. He likes to strike the pose of Brutus against Bush's Caesar. Apparently he does not remember the 20th century, i.e. WWII, Cold War (Korea, Vietnam), Gulf War, etc.

He and Kucinish ought to go to Teheran and try to negotiate a deal. Perhaps we can have "peace in our time."

Okay, maybe the NIE says Tehran is not the threat. Then no need to negotiate. All we need is free trade--no borders--no citizens.

Paul is an idiot.

My sons who are Ron Paul supporters tell me libertarianism is the logical political choice given their up-bringing. In other words, it is all my fault. I raised them to be virtuous libertarians, self-governing individuals, and to believe that the government that governs best, governs least. And yet, both complain continuously that I did not prepare them for a real world wherein hardly anyone IS self-governing. The Founders did not know how to create or promote virtue in the population. I tell my sons that such things are our political dreams. Yet, they are right, I raised them to dream in just that way. Some of us can't help but love such dreamers.

Don't you wish the world was truly such a safe place that Ron Paul's vision for international relations would work? I sure do.

John, a Congressman should be judged not by how much bacon he brings home but by how much bacon he would allow you to keep. By that measure, Ron Paul has no equal.

Kate, the creation of that world has to start somewhere. Ron Paul's foreign policy is feasible. It is not isolationist or pacifist; it is non-interventionist. America will go out and destroy its enemies when they rear, and when the American people see a truly just reason to go to war--to stop a Hitler or the like--then Congress will declare it. It's okay to be hypocritical sometimes. In the meantime, though, it is time to stop holding some countries back and allow them to help themselves, and to stop giving aid to true enemies of freedom like Saudi Arabia and the like.

The best way to lead the world is through example of our freedom, only bringing out the guns when that freedom is attacked.

When Ron Paul talks about disbanding the Dept. of Education for example, I'm with him 100%. That Dept. exists only to extend the control of leftists and union bosses to any districts that might have escaped their grasp locally.

But when Paul says 9/11 is our fault and just being nice and trading freely will protect us from the truly evil bastards in the world, that is dangerously ignorant. In a world of open borders, open ports, jet travel, computers, agressive 7th-century death cults, enabling dictators and WMDs, we have to be pro-active.

Neither is this country an "empire", and to assert such is dishonest and unprincipled and Paul should be ashamed of himself for mouthing such leftist garbage. Have a banana.

Which is why Paul will never be more than what he is now.

But when Paul says 9/11 is our fault and just being nice and trading freely will protect us from the truly evil bastards in the world, that is dangerously ignorant.

But of course agressive wars in the Middle East will make us so much safer? That is what is dangerously ignorant.

Great nations have responsibilities to lead...

NO THEY DO NOT!. Great nations and small nations alike have only the responsibility to well govern themselves. To think otherwise is hubristic. It is the mindset of the revolutionary, not the conservative.

Dr. K

You posted [l]ibertarianism "works" if there is virtuous self-restraint...

I think you mispelled libertarianism "works" if people are held accountable for their actions, and are not cared for or otherwise coddled by the Nanny State...

R.O.B., then Ron Paul's foreign policy is very little different than George Bush's foreign policy. He went and destroyed an enemy we had been dealing with for many years that he and previous presidents saw as a threat to the US and to the peace of the world.

If Paul is so practical, then I have badly misunderstood him.

Semantics. >.
Enemies as in ones directly threatening the United States of America. Saddam Hussein was an evil SOB who get what he deserved, but he was not a threat to the United States. But, okay, that point is arguable. So he was a threat, and his government was destroyed for that.

The difference between Bush and Paul is that the letter understands that our military exists to destroy enemy governments, not try to coax democratic ones out of the rubble. If Saddam really was a threat, Paul would have eliminated the threat and then moved on.

Hubristic revolutionary Ronald Reagan got it right; great nations do indeed have a responsibility to lead.

We were reasonably well self-governed before 1941, yet it didn't prevent Pearl Harbor and the Nazis. If we'd have stood up to them in the 30's, maybe we would have avoided world war in 40's and 70 million deaths.

America's very existence makes us a leader. posting a guard at every overpass and hunkering down in a defensive crouch while begging our enemies not to hurt us isn't really an option. Sorry.

Saddam was a threat. He was helping al Qaeda make VX according to Richard Clarke. He was harboring, training and funding terrorists including the first WTC bombers who only barely failed in '93. If his WMDs weren't back up to snuff, they would have been. And not knowing was unacceptable.

I'm not wild about nation-building in Iraq. But it was our least-worst option. We tried everything else. Backing dictators. Ignoring it. Buying friends. Limited wars. Containment. Detente. Limited surgical strikes. Multi-national diplomacy. Secret one-on-one diplomacy. Spycraft. Threats. Carrots. etcetcetcetc

ps: Despite the best efforts of Liberals, Leftists, and Paleos and libertarians, we're winning in Iraq. Thanks for the "help".

Kate, Iraq was not a threat to the US. That is neocon propaganda.

Noel, I think if I have to deal with this whole WWII thing again I am going to scream. All you interventionists read from the same script. We were attacked at Pearl Harbor because FDR deliberately antagonized the Japanese in order to backdoor us into Europe's war. This is a matter of historical record, and a lot of FDR's supporters think it was clever of him. His way to get around the innate anti-war, non-interventionism of the "ignorant masses." All this "if we had stopped Hitler in the 30s" is a bunch of hindsight second guessing nonsense. There is NO WAY FDR could have committed US troops to fight another European war when Hitler invaded the Sudetenland or whenever. The public was very much against it. Had we not intervened in WWI and swayed the balance inordinately there would have been no Versailles, no rise of Hitler, and no WWII. WWII was the direct result of our interventionism and meddling in WWI.

If you want to "lead" and make the world safe for democracy then I suggest you become a mercenary, and leave the rest of us out of it. The US Constitution does not authorize making the world safe for democracy.


So WW2 was also our fault. Ditto WW1. certainly Korea, Nam and the Cold War. above all, that War of Northern Aggression. But let's not leave out the Spanish-Americam War, the War of 1812 and the Revolution. Those are our fault. Personally, I still have grave misgivings about the French & Indian War. I can't really talk about it though--it chokes me up.

But the good news is this: Ron Paul will only fight perfect wars. there will be no casualties. these wars will be risk-free. They will not cost any money and all the thugs, dictators, terrorists, envious pisants, cowardly false friends and two-faced back-stabbers in the world will suddenly see the error of their ways and rise up as one to support America and her Enlightened Leader, Ron Paul, President of the Internet.

If a nuke goes off in one of our cities, he will have perfect intelligence as to who is responsible. 10 million people may be dead and our economy headed for a Great depression, but President Paul will not have offended the French, the Saudis and the Russians in any way. And that's what's really important. Because if someone hates you badly enough to do something like that, you really need to know where to send America's apology.

Red Phillips - you're wonderful! Well said.

Kate - out of the mouths of babes. Like your sons, I feel that my liberal arts education has prepared me to vote for Ron Paul. It's time that we the people started "living into" the kind of people that we want to be. The government has become so top heavy that Americans become dependent on the federal government for all of life's needs, with deleterious effects to local communities and private enterprise. Faith, family and freedom will flourish when Big Brother is told to take a hike. I don't want Christian Socialist Huckabee "leading" us according to the whims of his personal conscience. I'm an evangelical myself, but I hope that folks will remember that Bush's "Jesus in my heart" stuff soon degenerated into that "I'm the Decider" tirade. I prefer to be governed by the Constitution.

I do not feel any safer in the wake of the Patriot Act, and I detest my barefoot trips through the TSA screenings (like Paul, I think airlines should be responsible for the safety of their passengers. I'd fly El Al any day). Obviously, this would preclude government bailouts for airlines and banks, and would properly incentivize individuals and corporations to get their acts together. Our current government encourages people to take stupid risks and offers to print more money to soften the landing. People feel accountable to families and communities, not federal bureaucracies. We can't have a virtuous nation that undercuts personal responsibility from on high.

Finally, issues of national security: as I look out my window and see skyscrapers, I'm conscious of the risk of living in a great city, and of being an American. Our forefathers were willing to take that risk to live in freedom, and I am too. A non-interventionist (not isolationist) foreign policy ensures that we don't overextend ourselves so that we can respond to legitimate threats. I want to live in a strong and sovereign America, a shining city on a hill that leads by persuasion and not by force. We persuade through trade, not at the barrel of a gun. (Although I do support your right to bear arms!)

and our economy headed for a Great depression

We're not already headed in that direction? I don't think we need a terrorist attack.


WWI was not "our fault." We just should have stayed out of it. "World Wars" are inherently the result of interventionism. How else does a Duke getting shot in the Balkans turn into a World War?

You advocates of the warfare/security state need people to be afraid. That is why you resort to mindless rhetoric and hysteria. If we are not over in the Middle East killing people nukes will be going off in America. Oh really? That is just ignorant fear mongering? Who is going to nuke us? With what nukes? You can't base foreign policy and judge real threats by the plot line of 24. The risk of a nuke going off in America is vanishingly small.

Keep beating your chest there big man. I'm so glad rough and tough guys like you are around to protect me from all those Islamomeanies out there. Better check under your bed. The Hidden Imam might be there. BTW, when will you be enlisting? I’ll feel so much safer then.

The Chicken-Hawk Meme? You're kidding me, right? That's the best you've got? That's pathetic, dude.

I don't have to enlist. Better men than me already have. And they are putting it all on the line for me and mine, because they believe in their mission just like I do. Your scorn for me betrays your real feelings about them.

you are simply not the best judge of these matters. You think Lincoln was a dictator, for crying out loud. You're still pissed we abandoned the Articles of Confederation and adopted the Constitution, aren't you? Yeah, you are.

If the chance of a nuke going off is vanishingly small, could it be perhaps because of Pres. Bush's policies? We rolled up the A.Q. Khan network and intimidated Libya into giving up their nuke program. No attacks since 9/11--just an accident? Whatever, man. We already tried it your way, sticking our heads in the sand. It didn't work. But if Ron Paul wants to run on a platform of giving Iran nukes while campaigning on Soros and Stormfront money, I'm willing to put that before a vote of the American people. Including Americans who haven't yet learned to badmouth their own country.

No attacks since 9/11--just an accident?"

That would be what is often referred to as the elephant repellent argument. Could it not also mean that maybe the threat wasn't as bad as the Chicken Little crowd would have us believe.

We already tried it your way, sticking our heads in the sand. It didn't work.

No we haven't, not in this or the last century at least. I wish.

Your scorn for me betrays your real feelings about them.

So what are my feelings about them? FYI, I used to be one of them. And I was a non-interventionist then the same as I am now. So not supporting interventionism means you feel how about the troops? Please elaborate.

But if Ron Paul wants to run on a platform of giving Iran nukes

So Ron Paul wants to give nukes to Iran? That is the kind of ridiculous argumentation that reveals the weakness of your position.

Including Americans who haven't yet learned to badmouth their own country.

I badmouthed my country? I think you think you are at Free Republic where this type of juvenile nonsense works.

Well, Red, he is running a on platform of principled indifference to whether they have nukes, and of principled indifference as to whether they use them anywhere outside the US and its possessions.

I don't care for those particular principles.

Ed, Ron Paul is not indifferent to whether Iran gets nukes, and he is certainly not indifferent to whether they use them. That is just silly. I am certain that Ron Paul would rather Iran not get nukes. He just would not launch a war of aggression to stop them. That is a problem with your interventionist ideology. That some desired outcome requires an action.

The purpose of the US military and US foreign policy is to protect America, not to ensure every thing that happens goes the way we want it.

Red, his preference is irrelevant if he won't act, and he won't act. Do you really think that a President Paul has an option to employ in stopping Iran from going nuclear that is both untried to date and likely to work, other than military?

I'm not convinced we can or should use force, by the way. Yet.

The French have hinted at war with Iran. Say what you like about the French, but they don't use force abroad for idealistic reasons.

Kate--I'm sorry your sons feel that way, but on the other hand i have to say you were a great mother. If they are Paul fans, it is only because you taught them to be self-sufficient. You have done them and us all a favor.

If only we could make them less Ron Paul fans!

John, thank you for that. I did raise them to be self-sufficient. I note that the two with both wife and child or children are not Paul fans, but are hoping one of the others in the Republican bunch turns out to be wonderful. The son that goes to The Citadel is the strongest Paul fan, with the son in the Navy merely leaning into Paulism. Those two will grow out of their libertarianism, which as R.O.B. suggests is a kind of idealism.

Idealism is all well and good, but I wonder what Ron Paul would do with presidential responsibility for national safety. I do not think most Americans really want to risk that he would do nothing unless we were attacked.

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