The Honor of Ron Paul

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June
12, 2007

I guess I’ve known Ron Paul for a quarter of
a century now, and I don’t remember how we met. My first memory
of him is a quiet dinner on Capitol Hill, during the Reagan years.
He told me with dry humor of being the only member of Congress to
vote against some bill Reagan wanted passed. For Ron it was a matter
of principle, and he was under heavy pressure to change his vote.

What amused him was that the Democrats didn’t mind his voting
against it; all the pressure came from his fellow Republicans, professed
conservatives, who were embarrassed that anyone should actually
stand up for their avowed principles when it was unpopular to do
so.

That was Ron Paul for you. Still is. The whole country is getting
to know him now, and the Republicans still want to get rid of him.
The party’s hacks, led by Newt Gingrich, have even tried in
vain to destroy him in his own Texas district.

They’re right, in a way. He doesn’t belong in a party
that has made conservative a synonym for destructive. George Will
calls him a “useful anachronism” because he actually believes,
as literally as circumstances permit, in the U.S. Constitution.
In his unassuming way, without priggery or histrionics, he stands
alone.

He may have become at last what he has always deserved to be: the
most respected member of the U.S. Congress. He is also the only
Republican candidate for president who is truly what all the others
pretend to be, namely, a conservative. His career shows that a patriotic,
pacific conservatism isn’t a paradox.

If
they can’t expel Ron Paul from the party, they can at least
deny him the nomination. The GOP front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, who
says he hates abortion more than any other constitutional right
(or words to that effect), went into raptures of phony indignation
during the first “debate” when Paul said simply that the
9/11 attacks were a natural result of U.S. foreign policy. The pundits
applauded the demagogue, but millions of viewers were thrilled to
find one honest man on that crowded stage. (By the way, Paul is
a doctor who has delivered thousands of babies and never killed
one.)

Ron – I’m very proud to call him my friend – fares
well not only in comparison with the party’s sorry current
candidates, but also with its legendary conservative giants, Barry
Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. He lacks their charisma and of course
Reagan’s matchless charm, but he excels them both in consistency,
depth, historical awareness, courage, and honor. Heaven grant him
some of Reagan’s luck!

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Joseph
Sobran (1946–2010), conservative turned libertarian, was one
of the most significant American writers. See his
website
and his
intellectual journey
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