Christmas morning broke clear and cold here in Virginia and before my children woke I got to thinking about the opportunities that would lost by anyone who decided not to vote for Dr. Ron Paul in the primaries. Perhaps it was because I got chilled and cranky as I walked down to the road to get the paper, but the more I thought, the more I doubted if Americans really understood what they would be voting for if they chose another candidate.
Of course one need not agree with all of Dr. Paul's views to recognize the chance he presents for Americans to begin to alter the disastrous status quo policies — foreign and domestic — being advocated by the other presidential candidates. I strongly disagree with Dr. Paul, for example, on the issue of preemptive military action; in our war against Islamist insurgents, preemption will serve America by keeping our foes bleeding and off-balance, as we begin, as Dr. Paul has said, to disengage from other peoples' wars. But because I do not support Dr. Paul on this point, would it make sense for me to vote for Senator McCain, who wants to send our soldiers and Marines to die in the howling wastes of Darfur; or for Mr. Giuliani and his coterie of neoconservative advisers who are fairly aglow with a lip-smacking lust for an even broader Hobbesian war against Muslims than that waged by George W. Bush; or for whatever foreign policies Mr. Huckabee and his evangelical colleagues cook-up after their daily chats with God; or for Senator Clinton who is advised by a self-confessed felon and who believes U.S. and Israeli interests are identical and that Israel's wars are America's wars? No, such a vote would be senseless and only help the status quo to triumph. While I disagree with Dr. Paul on preemption, his position and prudence on this and other foreign policy issues are a sounder starting point for an American debate than the other candidates' cheerful willingness to leap from the frying pan into the flames and dragging our country into the fire of wars that do not need fighting or that rightfully should be fought without U.S. involvement.
One can also dislike the views of Dr. Paul and other Libertarians regarding Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and other great figures in American history. I frankly admit that I cringe and get angry when I hear Dr. Paul criticize Mr. Lincoln, who I consider the greatest American, next to George Washington. But Dr. Paul and his colleagues have reasoned, fact-based arguments for their views, and though I think their arguments are often wrong, and at times scurrilous and historically obtuse, they at least have a firm grip on the fact that there was an America before the 1960s, and that broad knowledge of where the United States came from is an essential prerequisite for shaping policies to ensure its survival. This sort of historical literacy surely is not to be found in Mr. Giuliani, whose knowledge of the world seems to date from 9/11; in Senator Clinton and most other Democrats, who are ashamed of where America came from and are doing their best to coerce by federal mandate the country's remaking in their own elitist and multicultural image; or in the rest of both parties' candidates, who are so ignorant of U.S. history, and that of other peoples and nations, that they believe what Americans have struggled, fought, and died to create in North America over the past 400 years can be put on a CD-ROM and transferred to other cultures.
At base, then, a person need not agree with Dr. Paul on each and every issue, but only on the most important issue: America's future economic viability and its sovereign independence as a nation. On this issue, Dr. Paul puts U.S. economic, constitutional, and national security interests first, and he does so in a frank, clear, and unflinching manner. And so what would a non-Ron Paul ballot tell us about the voter casting it?
If a person chose not to vote for Dr. Paul, he or she would have to be content with the staggering debt Washington is incurring for this and future generations. While it has become a commonplace to say that our grandchildren will pay for this generation's profligacy, it is nonetheless troublingly true. And the debt we have incurred is not one that finds us owing ourselves, but rather it is one in which Americans have knowingly indebted themselves to their enemies — the Chinese and the Saudis. There is, so far as I can tell, no candidate other than Dr. Paul who says that America should return to its pay-as-you-go traditions, and argues that it is clearly lacking in foresight, prudence, and commonsense to provide rivals and enemies with the ability to detonate a financial weapon of mass destruction that could, by simply calling in our debt, slay America's economy and standard-of-living. Indeed, so oblivious to this danger are Dr. Paul's fellow candidates — or so abjectly willing are they to court future economic ruin if it means electoral victory now — that they want to borrow many billions more from our foes to fund universal health care, additional foreign military adventures, college-educations-for-all, and more foreign and military aid for their overseas buddies in Egypt, Cairo, Tel Aviv, and Saudi Arabia.
A person not voting for Dr. Paul would be further validating the reality that America is fast becoming a country of men — and women — and not of laws. Making issues more complex than they are is, of course, the time-honored way in which most U.S. politicians ensure that the status quo in which they are elected and reelected remains unchanged. The best examples today of this complexification process are border control and immigration. Our bipartisan governing elite and its non-Paulian spawn running for president have so encumbered a straight-forward law-and-order issue like immigration with the entangling considerations of human rights, refugee rights, citizenship rights and other non-pertinent issues that nothing is being done to halt the flood of undocumented aliens that is entering the country and eroding national security. Save for Dr. Paul the message from the other candidates on this issue is "Damn the law and U.S. security, I need the Hispanic vote."
And perhaps most inexplicably, ballots cast for one of Dr. Paul's rivals — especially Senator McCain and Mayor Giuliani — would show that many American parents are content to raise their children and then have them pointlessly killed abroad while serving as cannon fodder for the democracy-mongering interventions of their governing elite and wars that our elite start but never intend to win. From the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to protecting far-off borders by endlessly expanding NATO, to the civil strife of Darfur, to picking fights with the Russians, to democratizing Pakistan into anarchy, Dr. Paul's fellow candidates fairly salivate at the prospect of getting America involved in ever more bloody democracy-installing campaigns overseas. These adventures will of course require far greater numbers of soldiers — but not from the families of the elite of course — and will inevitably force them to reinstitute universal conscription, notwithstanding their pledges to the contrary.
So what does it mean to vote for a candidate other than Dr. Paul? To so vote means that one is knowingly voting for a man or a woman who does not intend to do what he she has pledged to do. Whether it is on the issue of budgetary restraint, abortion, trade, overseas intervention, borders, taxes, jobs, or foreign aid, there is no reason to believe that any candidate other than Dr. Paul would alter the policy status quo more than superficially. Each of the other candidates is the clone of those who have governed America for the past twenty years: These are men and women who ignore the law, spend and borrow mindlessly, and consistently spend the lives of our children by involving America in other peoples' wars through their unrelenting interventionism. They will do what they must to win office, and can be relied on to abandon any and all campaign promises if they find such a jettisoning can help them keep office.
And it is on the point of reliability that Dr. Paul's candidacy rightly has roused so much interest among everyday Americans, and particularly among younger people. In all of the voluminous and often scare-mongering criticism of Dr. Paul and his ideas that has flowed from his fellow candidates and much of the media, no one has yet suggested that Dr. Paul would not try to do precisely what he says he will try to do. They have ridiculed what he intends to do if elected, decried its supposed impracticability, and called it simple-minded isolationism, but they have not once questioned his resolve to try to get it done.
My own guess, for what it is worth, is that the reason Dr. Paul is attracting the interest and support of Americans lies in the sense they have that the Texan intends to do precisely what he says he will do. Also spurring interest in Dr. Paul is the fact that he is the only presidential candidate intent on shattering the structure of the incestuous, privileged, self-serving, bribe-taking, and above-the-law country club in which our bipartisan governing elite dwells and hob-knobs with much of the media. For these reasons, Dr. Paul is attracting the attention of men and women who know in their minds and hearts that the other candidates' promises of change are worthless, and if any is elected Americans would inevitably find themselves in 2012 with the same disastrous economic, foreign policy, and law-and-order status quo that is untenable in 2008.
The chance to see America benefit from a leader who strives to do what he has promised, while simultaneously thumping America's self-serving political elite and camp-following media are two of the best of the many excellent reasons to vote for Dr. Paul.
December 29, 2007