Ron Paul & Homeschooling

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Every election cycle we get a whole new slew of candidates all peddling essentially the same message. Take away the faces and the campaign logos and virtually every candidate is indistinguishable from the others, even those in opposing parties. They all support undeclared wars, destruction of civil liberties, the Federal Reserve, perpetual deficits and corporatism. To distinguish themselves from the candidates in the other party, the Republican candidates take up the arbitrary platform that they expect to win over "conservatives", while Democrat candidates take up the arbitrary platform that they expect to win over "liberals". Neither side's candidates seem to be too concerned with the fact that their platforms when viewed as a whole are not only arbitrary, but they are also inherently contradictory. In order to conceal the obvious contradictions, they try to get voters to become emotionally invested in and focus wholly on individual issues.

The candidates rarely care about the issues they purport to support. Their propensity to flip-flop based on the targeted constituency and the political environment at any given moment elucidates their indifference. During this presidential election campaign, many of the candidates are going to claim to be staunch supporters of homeschooling rights. But words are cheap. We need to look past their words and focus in on their actions, and identify the philosophy that drives those actions.

Ron Paul has long been a strong supporter of homeschooling. He introduced the Education Improvement Tax Cut Act (H.R. 612) in 1998 to give homeschool parents a $3,000 tax credit to help offset education costs. In 2007 the proposed tax credit was increased to $5,000 per child (H.R. 1056, and resubmitted this year as H.R. 954). Ron Paul supports tax credits as opposed to vouchers because the former places no restrictions on the parents, while the latter opens the door to future regulation. Additionally, Ron Paul has said that there should be no federal control over education and supports abolishing the Department of Education. As a homeschool advocate I appreciate his tireless defense of the rights of parents to educate their children as they see fit, without government intrusion into their lives.

However, far more important than his demonstrated history of supporting education freedom is his philosophy on the role of government. Ron Paul believes that the role of government is to defend liberty. His refusal to sacrifice liberty for perceived security has sometimes left Ron Paul defending positions which have pitted him against every other member of Congress. While history has repeatedly proven him right (Google "Ron Paul Was Right"), his ability to halt the oppressive growth of government as a single member of Congress, as the "one exception to the Gang of 535", has been limited. As President that would change.

Ron Paul understands that a defense of liberty cannot be subject to arbitrary constraints, and it cannot be selectively applied. Liberty can only exist if it is protected under all circumstances. While other candidates will tell you that they will protect your rights as homeschoolers (often empty campaign promises to begin with), they will work to undermine your rights in other aspects of your lives. They will argue that the government has the right to hand over the money supply to private banks that will inflate away the value of your currency, take your money to bailout multi-billion dollar corporations and prop up foreign despots, or strip away your 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendment rights for your own safety. They will tell you that they will run the government responsibly to provide you with what you want (jobs, security, even a perverted sense of freedom). But, in order to do so they will need to expand the power of government. The more power the government has the easier it is for them to curtail our rights as homeschoolers. As Thomas Jefferson warned us, a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.

The reason that I support Ron Paul as a homeschooling advocate has little to do with the wonderful work that he has done to protect homeschooling, and a lot to do with his unyielding defense of liberty. We cannot be secure in our rights to homeschool if we do not have all of our rights protected. Ron Paul does not pick and choose when he will defend liberty — he defends it across the board, and as President there would be no greater friend to the homeschooling community than Ron Paul.

Antonio Buehler [send him mail] is the founder of Buehler Education.

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