What about Ron Paul?

Today’s topic is the result of a request by a couple of Facebook friends. They want to know my views on Ron Paul. I will be as direct, succinct, and courteous as I can. I have no desire to “bash” anyone on the Republican side, but I will state my disagreements.

First, the positive: Ron Paul is a devoted constitutionalist. That, by itself, deserves praise. He seeks to get back to the Founders’ original intent for the government, and is keen to get rid of all the superfluities that have attached themselves to it over the decades, particularly since the New Deal. When he calls for holding to the authority granted to the federal government by the Constitution and not allowing it to cross that line, I am in complete agreement with him. I may not always agree, though, on where that line is.

Overall, my biggest problem with Paul’s concepts is that he is a thoroughgoing libertarian. Libertarianism—as an “ism”—is not based on Biblical principles. There’s a big difference between Biblical liberty, which is always coupled with responsibility, and unfettered libertarianism as practiced by some. True libertarians rarely see any real need for government beyond punishing one person for hurting another person. They certainly don’t claim that government is a good thing established by God; rather, they view it as a necessary evil. But there’s a difference between the idea of government being evil and those using a God-ordained government for evil. As much as I want limited government, I nevertheless recognize the need for a strong government in those areas where God has granted it authority.

I believe laws can be passed to set a moral standard for society; a true libertarian, like Paul, doesn’t think government has any role in determining a societal standard. However, even the staunchest libertarian has no problem with saying murder is wrong and should be punished by government. Isn’t murder a moral standard? Yes, there is a line where government should not enter [no government should ever pass “hate crime” bills, which punish people for what they think or believe], but it is perfectly permissible to say that homosexual marriage should not be recognized as legitimate by law. Abortion, the taking of an innocent life, also should be banned.

Libertarians also want the U.S. to rarely get involved in other countries. I agree that we can’t poke our noses into everyone’s business, but there are times when what is happening overseas has a direct impact upon our national security. For instance, going to war against the Taliban was entirely appropriate. They were the engine that drove 9/11.

There’s where Paul veers into strange territory. He is more apt to blame the U.S. for the events of 9/11 than the perpetrators. He’s keen on critiquing our Middle East policy but has trouble seeing fanatical murderers for what they are. Whatever mistakes we might have made in the Middle East, they pale in comparison to the hatred that emanates from radical Islam. Does he really understand that? I don’t think so.

Then there was that odd comment about his opposition to a fence on the Mexican border. He seems to think the gravest danger there is to U.S. citizens who might want to flee their own country, but that fence might keep them in. It’s as if he believes we’re living in a nation in a similar situation to the former East Germany, where the Berlin Wall kept people on the communist side from escaping into free West Berlin. The proposed border fence with Mexico does not in any way resemble the Berlin Wall. The picture of thousands of American seeking refuge in Mexico is more than a little ludicrous.

So, I don’t support a Paul candidacy. I don’t trust that he will defend this nation from all enemies, foreign or domestic. What I fear the most is the possibility of Paul running a third-party candidacy, thereby allowing Barack Obama to win a second term. I’ve heard some Paul supporters say that is preferable to a lukewarm Republican. Again, I disagree. Even a lukewarm Republican will make some correct decisions [and a strong Republican Congress can help there]. Obama will never make a correct decision. For me, there is no comparison.

You asked. I answered. For what it’s worth.