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Pollitt on Paul


As Lindsay says, Katha Pollitt’s column on Ron Paul is excellent. I’ll quote another important passage:

It’s a little strange to see people who inveigh against Obama’s healthcare compromises wave away, as a detail, Paul’s opposition to any government involvement in healthcare. In Ron Paul’s America, if you weren’t prudent enough or wealthy enough to buy private insurance—and the exact policy that covers what’s ailing you now—you find a charity or die. And if civil liberties are so important, how can Paul’s progressive fans overlook his opposition to abortion and his signing of the personhood pledge, which could ban many birth control methods? Last time I checked, women were half the population (the less important half, apparently). Technically, Paul would overturn Roe and let states make their own laws regulating women’s bodies, up to and including prosecuting abortion as murder. Add in his opposition to basic civil rights law—he maintains his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes restrictions on the “freedom” of business owners to refuse service to blacks—and his hostility to the federal government starts looking more and more like old-fashioned Southern-style states’ rights. No wonder they love him over at Stormfront, a white-supremacist website with neo-Nazi tendencies. In a multiple-choice poll of possible effects of a Paul presidency, the most popular answer by far was “Paul will implement reforms that increase liberty which will indirectly benefit White Nationalists.” And let’s not forget his other unsavory fan base, Christian extremists who want to execute gays, adulterers and “insubordinate children.” Paul’s many connections with the Reconstructionist movement, going back decades, are laid out on AlterNet by Adele Stan, who sees him as a faux libertarian whose real agenda is not individualism but to prevent the federal government from restraining the darker impulses at work at the state and local levels.

His foreign policy has the same problem; “nothing should be done” will produce more good outcomes when applied to foreign policy than applied to domestic policy, but a monomaniacal isolationism that would end foreign aid and pull the U.S. out of multilateral organizations isn’t a desirable approach by any means. And, yes, yes, since several commenters ignored this when I said it the first time, a hypothetical President Paul would not in fact succeed in fully realizing his vision of restoring the Articles of Confederation. But then he wouldn’t succeed in ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs either. Most drug prosecutions are state, not federal — abuses would get worse under the supervision of the neoconfederate cranks Paul would appoint to the federal bench — and Jon Walker’s argument notwithstanding if he tried to use power delegated by Congress to the executive branch to unilaterally end the WoSCoPWUSD, Congress would end the delegation by veto-proof majorities posthaste.  Its incidental arrival at a few good positions notwithstanding, Ron Paul’s worldview exceptionally dangerous and reactionary.

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