November 6th, 2007

The Ron Paul Phenomenon

Glenn Greenwald, in light of yesterday’s donation extravaganza, sums up the Ron Paul phenomenon.

Highlights:

While Barack Obama toys with the rhetoric of challenging conventional wisdom, Paul’s campaign — for better or worse — actually does so, and does so in an extremely serious, thoughtful and coherent way. And there are a lot of people who, more than any specific policy positions, are hungry for a political movement which operates outside of our rotted political establishment and which fearlessly rejects its pieties, even if they disagree with some or even many of its particulars.

Regardless of one’s ideology, there is simply no denying certain attributes of Paul’s campaign which are highly laudable. There have been few serious campaigns that are more substantive — just purely focused on analyzing and solving the most vital political issues. There have been few candidates who more steadfastly avoid superficial gimmicks, cynical stunts, and manipulative tactics. There have been few candidates who espouse a more coherent, thoughtful, consistent ideology of politics, grounded in genuine convictions and crystal clear political values.

By itself, the ability of Paul’s campaign to compel a desperately needed debate over the devastation which America’s imperial rule wreaks on every level — economic, moral, security, liberty — makes his success worth applauding.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November!

41 Responses to “The Ron Paul Phenomenon”

  1. Obi wan liberali
    November 6, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    Connor,

    What are you doing quoting that evil liberal Glenn Greenwald. I’m telling.

    (Quote above meant in jest)

    Best regards.

  2. Connor
    November 6, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    What are you doing quoting that evil liberal Glenn Greenwald. I’m telling.

    Not only that, he’s also homosexual.

    Just goes to show that even gay liberals can be harbingers of truth at times. :)

  3. Josh Williams
    November 6, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    (This is probably not news to you, Connor.) I read the other day that Dr. Paul’s internet presence dwarfs that of all other candidates.

    It makes sense, that he would appeal to the mostly youthful, intelligent, idealistic, semi-anarchic, and government leery demographic of internet users.

    This gives me at least a glimmer of hope that he’ll make it through the primaries. If not, I’ll still write him in anyway……

    The only time I have ever seen his name even mentioned on TV, was an interview on The News Hour, on PBS. (It’s good to see that PBS hasn’t completely sold itself out yet….)

    (You have no idea how refreshing it is to hear a candidate who doesn’t talk like an advertising executive; who actually responds to questions, and tries to inform his audience.)

    anyway….

  4. Connor
    November 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm #

    Josh,

    He’s been on TV a lot, though not nearly as much as the media-anointed candidates. Clips of his news appearances are usually posted on the Lew Rockwell blog.

  5. Josh Williams
    November 6, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Thanks!

    *opens link in new tab*

  6. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 5:42 am #

    The reason why someone like Ron Paul will NOT win with the larger public is that most of his views are reprehensible. No matter how “clear” and “refreshing” he might be, his views are not in line with what most Americans want out of their government, or even just political philosophy.

  7. Michael L. McKee
    November 7, 2007 at 6:25 am #

    Dan

    In the interest of clarity, I consulted my dictionary to be certain my understanding of the term “reprehensible” was accurate before I posted my response. I can confidently state at this point that your brief, yet succinctly nonsensical, observation concerning the “views” of Ron Paul is reprehensible.

  8. Jay
    November 7, 2007 at 6:51 am #

    Yeah, the Constitution is quite reprehensible, isn’t it?

    Jay

  9. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 9:13 am #

    It’s okay, Mr. McKee, every single one of your comments have been utterly reprehensible and nonsensical. You probably didn’t even need to consult the dictionary to discover their true meanings. You could have just looked in the mirror.

  10. Jay
    November 7, 2007 at 9:31 am #

    That was totally out of line.

    Jay

  11. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    Um, how was my comment out of line and Michael McKee’s not? Why do you give him a pass, Jay?

  12. Connor
    November 7, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    Dan,

    Feel free to comment on one’s position, beliefs, or comments. But one more personal attack like that on anybody here and you’ll be banned from commenting in the future. Learn to play nice.

  13. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 10:01 am #

    Connor,

    Does that same principle apply to Mr. McKee?

  14. Connor
    November 7, 2007 at 10:02 am #

    It applies to everybody. But his was an attack on your comment and opinion, not on you yourself. Your “mirror” comment was totally unwarranted.

  15. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 10:03 am #

    Well then I apologize. Mr. McKee has previously called me numerous names, and I got defensive, seeing that he has never apologized for any of his previous insults.

  16. Michael L. McKee
    November 7, 2007 at 11:16 am #

    No comment.

  17. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 11:24 am #

    Thank you.

  18. Enoch
    November 7, 2007 at 3:25 pm #

    Just came across your site today Connor. This Ron Paul “Phenomenon” as you call it is quite interesting to me as it pertains to members of the LDS Church. Most of the members here in our community are either supporters of Romney, Paul, or don’t know who they’ll vote for. I’ve found that a vast majority of members who learn about Paul like his views (with some disagreements on the war in Iraq). At the same time, I find that most who support Romney know little about his political positions, but base their support of him on the fact that he is Mormon, a Republican, quite popular in the press, has been successful in other ventures, and has a “presidential” persona.

    Quite frankly, I’m quite surprised that there are a few members of the Church who are afraid of and, in some cases, even despise Ron Paul. I can understand the support for Romney, but the opposition to Paul makes no sense to me.

    Good job with the website.

  19. Dan
    November 7, 2007 at 3:30 pm #

    Enoch,

    There are Mormons out there who think Ron Paul’s views are, well, let me put it mildly here, not in line with what they believe. And it shouldn’t surprise you that there is political diversity within Mormonism. We may be one heart and one mind when it comes to our religious beliefs, but that does not translate to the political. And it should never translate to the political, at least in a democracy. You start running into many many corruption problems when there is no opposition in politics.

  20. Enoch
    November 7, 2007 at 4:29 pm #

    Dan,

    I am not surprised at all that political diversity exists within Mormonism. I agree that members shouldn’t feel they need to be of one mind and one heart in political matters (which is kind of the point I was making when referring to Romney). I myself am very open to other opinions and am not certain that I am entirely correct in some issues.

    My surprise is that there are people in the Church (who are familiar with what the scriptures and authorities say and have said about the Constitution) could despise Ron Paul or be afraid of him when they know what he advocates. Disagreeing with him (on this or that) is another matter.

    I probably wasn’t clear enough when I first stated it. In general, it seems that the few members who do feel this way about Ron Paul are big Romney supporters.

  21. Enoch
    November 7, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    Just another quick note. I previously stated:

    the opposition to Paul makes no sense to me.

    I can see where that sounds like I’m surprised that there is ANY opposition to Ron Paul. I meant opposition in the degree that I had described, but I obviously did not write it that way. My bad.

  22. Jay
    November 7, 2007 at 5:47 pm #

    “And it should never translate to the political, at least in a democracy.”

    What does a democracy have to do with anything in our country? Democracies are the most vile form of government.

    Jay

  23. Sam Hennis
    November 7, 2007 at 7:22 pm #

    Anyone who truly loves freedom, and who truly understands Ron Paul’s support of Constitutional principles will be a Ron Paul supporter when they learn about him. It doesn’t matter what religion or political party they belong to. I have no doubt about it.

  24. Jay
    November 7, 2007 at 8:30 pm #

    I voted for Ron Paul back in ’88 after the First Presidency issued the bulletin to be read in all sacrament meetings telling the members to read and study the Constitution. Once I had an understanding of it, the choice became clear.

    Jay

  25. Sam Hennis
    November 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm #

    I would’ve voted for him, had I been of voting age. I was 13 then. :)

  26. Curtis
    November 7, 2007 at 11:43 pm #

    Jay,

    Democracies are the most vile form of government.

    Yet, democratic principles are very important as outlined in the Book of Mormon. The voice of the people needs to be heard and heeded as that is what the people are judged by when it comes to the measure of the ripeness for destruction.

    Democracy is the ultimate form of freedom in politics. Republicans call it mob rule and it is true. However, why should we have a republic to artificially prolong the miserable existence of a people ripened for destruction? It seems like the anti-socialists who frequent this site, clamoring for free-agency, would be the first to embrace democracy as it is the collective free agency by which a people will be judged. Why should a people be forced to be beholden to a republic?

  27. Curtis
    November 7, 2007 at 11:45 pm #

    You guys should check out this nice analysis of Ron Paul and his amazing movement. Mike Whitney is somewhat of a leftist in my reading of him, but he says here he will vote for Paul in the next election.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18681.htm

  28. Jay
    November 8, 2007 at 12:01 am #

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.

    “Democracy is the ultimate form of freedom in politics.”

    Not if you’re the lamb.

    Jay

  29. Dan
    November 8, 2007 at 3:17 am #

    Democracies are the most vile form of government? You better have gotten the word out to N. Eldon Tanner who said:

    I wish to join wholeheartedly with the millions of people who appreciate this country in which we live and are determined to do what they can to maintain and strengthen the principles of democracy established by our Founding Fathers. To do this, it is most important that we be loyal and law-abiding citizens.

    He didn’t call it a republic. He called it a democracy. Now you may want to try and spin this that he really meant a republic when he said a democracy, but I’ll take him at his word, that he knew what he was talking about.

    In November 2001, just after our invasion of Afghanistan, President Hinckley concluded Conference with this prayer:

    We pray for the great democracies of the earth which Thou hast overseen in creating their governments, where peace and liberty and democratic processes obtain.

    Heh, how very fascinating. When I search “republic” in General Conferences, guess who comes up with the most quotes? Ezra Taft Benson! surprise surprise.

  30. Michael L. McKee
    November 8, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    Once again I found it necessary to consult the dictionary to formulate the following opinionated commentary:

    While it is true that the Constitutional Foundational Principles of the United States of America are replete with Democratic philosophical understanding, our nation is none-the-less a Republic since we do utilize the election process to install those who would administer Constitutional Law over “we the people.” One need not rely upon the opinions of others (myself included) to realize this truth as the Founders were neither delusional about the fate of all previous so-called Democracies nor were they without majority consensus indicating our system would resemble a philosophy of Democratic Republicanism. This is irrefutable information available when you consult the historical text of our founding. Of course you must rely upon text utilized before the left set out to redefine historical data in their own image. One need not go too far back in our past to locate when they began this methodical, yet sinister, charade in earnest utilizing the media and the public educational system. Their greatest emphasis was brought to bear upon the minds of those who were involved in so-called “higher learning.”

    Fortunately for myself, I gained most of my ignorance from the so-called streets so it was impossible for me to obtain any “higher learning” according to the communistic infiltrated universities and their America hating adherents who posed as administrators and professors. I am certain there will be those here who will at least agree to my being ignorant, but I do not mind since I, at least, have never been indoctrinated to believe that the United States is a Democracy. BTW, I do not believe all universities, administrators and professors are communistic in their beliefs since statistically speaking only about 70% or so of them agree with these assertions.

    May God bless the Republic known as the United States of America.

  31. Enoch
    November 8, 2007 at 9:06 am #

    Why should a people be forced to be beholden to a republic?

    I’m not sure that is really possible in a true republic. But I think we may be getting a little too caught up over terms. There are certainly good principles of democracy and they did exist in Book of Mormon times. There are principles of democracy in our Constitutional form of Government (majority vote wins an election, majority vote passes a law in Congress, etc.). However, our form of government is a republic and I doubt you’d find any past Church authorities who’d disagree with that. When getting down to it, a pure democracy isn’t the same as a republic but there are democratic principles found within most repulbics (not to be confused with the so-called Peoples “Republic” of China or U.S.S.R). But there are certainly many democracies around the world that foster principles of liberty and peace (as Hinckley refers to them in the comment above).

    As for other leaders of the Church referring to this nation as a republic, I found plenty. Just to name a few … Thomas S. Monson, David B. Haight, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, L. Tom Perry, John Taylor, David O. McKay and yes, even Gordon B. Hinckley (see dedicatory prayer of Boston, MA temple) to name a few. N. Eldon Tanner had no problem calling it a republic (as he used references calling it a republic).

    Speaking of N. Eldon Tanner, here is an excellent quote followed by an excellent article by him in the Ensign.

    Freedom is based on truth, and no man is completely free as long as any part of his belief is based on error. — N. Eldon Tanner (Ensign, May 1978, page 14)

    Article:

    If They Will But Serve the God of the Land

  32. Enoch
    November 8, 2007 at 9:10 am #

    Correction: The article above (If They Will But Serve the Living God) is from the New Era but is adapted from an address given during General Conference.

  33. Curtis
    November 8, 2007 at 9:23 am #

    Jay,

    But shouldn’t the majority wolves be allowed to ripen in wickedness in their murderous intentions towards the lamb so that the Lord would be justified in their destruction? That is the principle that Alma and Amulek espoused in dealing with the people of Ammonihah. Why should we artificially shield a people from their just desserts if the majority are ripe? Wouldn’t a pure democracy be the best way to ensure that that the consequences of free agency and the rewards of free agency be realized?

  34. Jay
    November 8, 2007 at 9:43 am #

    I always get confused at the term Democratic Republic. To me, it’s like saying blackish-white. Which is it? Anyway, I don’t worry about it too much if once in a while the tongue slips and the word democracy slips out from a church leader. Geez . . . even Bush doesn’t know any better. And when you have so many of our leaders and educators constantly abusing the term, it’s almost to be expected. But in a political debate, such as this, I think that inappropriate uses of the word should be checked.

    If we’re a democracy, then can anyone think of any democratic election, decision, declaration or law that we’ve ever had?

    Jay

  35. Curtis
    November 8, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Jay,

    If we’re a democracy, then can anyone think of any democratic election, decision, declaration or law that we’ve ever had?

    As far as elections go, not really. A look at the 2000 elections should rule out pure democracy there. Gore had the popular vote but Bush won the electoral college.

    As far as referendums go there are many issues that go to the voters for approval or dissapproval. This is sort of democratic, but there are only two choices to make. I envision a purely democratic decision making process allowing one a range of choices covering the full spectrum and giving the people the ability to shape bills as a participatory democracy. Apparently Venezuela’s constitution was formed in this way.

    However, you still have not answered my question.

  36. Jay
    November 8, 2007 at 11:32 am #

    Curtis,

    I understand what you’re saying, but I guess that I look more towards Mormon for guidance. He got so disgusted with his people that he refused to lead them anymore, but later decided that he would continue to be their leader even though they were so steeped in wickedness that their destruction was inevitable. I think that even if we, as a country deserve the kind of leadership we’re getting, it’s still incumbent upon us to do our best to defend liberty—even if by an artificial shield.

  37. Mark N.
    November 8, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    Dan: There are Mormons out there who think Ron Paul’s views are, well, let me put it mildly here, not in line with what they believe.

    Dan, you seem to be pussyfooting around things here. Can you be any more specific? Just what does Dr. Paul believe in that you find so “reprehensible”?

  38. Dan
    November 8, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    Mark,

    Okey dokey,

    1. Immigration.

    His views on immigration are reprehensible, out of touch, and will not actually solve the problem. It is wishful thinking and unrealistic. He likes to say things like (taken from his website):

    # No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
    # No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
    # End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.

    It may be that there are indeed 20 million people here “illegally,” but note what is missing from Mr. Paul’s statement: just what does he actually intend to do about it? Forcibly remove 20 million people from this country? Yeah, that’s gonna go over real well. No welfare for them? Not even if they pay taxes (which they do indeed do if they work here)? Huh, true conservative compassion. End birthright citizenship? For all Americans, or just the illegals? He won’t say, of course. He won’t continue down the line of thinking he begins, because he knows that to do so would invite real attacks on him, because that line of thinking is very disturbing and un-American.

    of course frequent visitors to this blog won’t have any problem with his line of thinking. But when it comes to actually DOING something about the problem, are they really willing to follow this line of thought?

    His point on debt and taxes is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is refreshing to hear someone say that we’re spending too much and burdening our future generations with higher taxes (after all, an increase in debt means an increase in the payments later on). But his logic is flawed. On the one hand, he likes privatization, but on the other he’s mad that a private bank makes the rules for the financial world. It is ironic actually that he wishes the government to take control of how the financial world is run, but then he doesn’t want the government to control our lives. Huh…

    We need a new method to prioritize our spending. It’s called the Constitution of the United States.

    Huh, now that’s one of the weakest answers for how to actually prioritize our spending I’ve ever heard. What the heck does the constitution of the United States actually have to do with how we prioritize our spending? Now, before you begin with the departments not actually authorized by the Constitution, and so on, this is not what he is saying here. He is talking about the following:

    We cannot continue to allow private banks, wasteful agencies, lobbyists, corporations on welfare, and governments collecting foreign aid to dictate the size of our ballooning budget

    How does the Constitution help us prioritize these? It doesn’t. That’s not its purpose.

    His views on American Independence and Sovereignty are not very good. An organization like the UN doesn’t “force” America to do anything. It is the Law of the Land, as it is a treaty ratified by the Senate, according to the Constitution. It is perfectly valid and not unconstitutional. As such, what we do within the UN is Constitutional. It is the Law of the Land.

    His foreign policy views are too simplistic for the complex world we live in today.

    We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the freedom and independence of the United States of America.

    I mean what the heck does that mean? ANY organization? Just how much infringement upon our freedoms and independence? Too simplistic, and too arrogant.

    A national ID card does not equate to no privacy, as much as he may think it does. He makes good points about fighting government intrusion into our personal lives, but it isn’t a national ID card that takes away privacy. A card is just a card. What you DO with that card is different, and Mr. Paul doesn’t differentiate. Too simplistic again.

    His views on health “freedom” are way over the top and unrealistic. They fit the mold of people who frequent this blog, and as such they are in total agreement, but the question here is about Mormons who think his views are reprehensible. Mr. Paul’s rationales on health care are again too simplistic and too irrational.

    His views on Social Security I find the most beguiling. He’s talking like a liberal here, protecting social security. I thought you guys believed social security was of Da Devil…

    And let’s not even get started on what he thinks about the Department of Education and public schooling in this country.

    That’s a decent enough list. Now let’s watch the libertarian wolves tear at my views…

  39. Michael L. McKee
    November 8, 2007 at 6:07 pm #

    Dan:

    The following comments are in no particular order as I am no longer able to keep my thoughts in any particular order.

    I should think you would be privy to sufficient truthful information debunking the lie of so-called “birthright citizenship.” To insinuate Mr. Paul would fail to make the distinction between legal and illegal is quite a stretch.

    I for one am willing to follow the line of thought which Ron Paul has articulated rather admirably. He has done so following the Constitutional mandate of enforcement of the rule of law. I am also inclined to participate in enforcing the laws prohibiting invasion of our sovereign land by any foreign subject just as was done when the British made the same mistake.

    The comment about illegals paying taxes is really fraught with opinionated rhetoric since there have been many legitimate studies conducted which indicate the amount paid is a mere pittance when compared to the tremendous burden they place upon legal taxpayers.

    I must stop for now as your attempt to posit legitimate arguments are, at best, confusing. I am afraid I will succumb to information overload trying to decipher whether or not you are telling the truth or simply trying to find something believable in what you have said.

    I am disappointed in your sudden decision to stop before you could tell us about Ron Paul’s position on the Department of Education. I am certain you have more ammunition left in your arsenal. Please enlighten me further.

  40. Josh Kim
    November 8, 2007 at 8:41 pm #

    I think that Ron Paul’s beliefs are the perfect remedy for this country. Sure, some liberals and conservatives mistrust him because he would do away with much of their pet laws but we need to start anew in order to fix many of our problems. Ron Paul is a man of intellectual, moral, and political courage and I wish more Americans would see that.

  41. Yin
    November 8, 2007 at 10:45 pm #

    I support Ron Paul for a lot of reasons. But, when I don’t feel like expounding on all those reasons, I sometimes explain it by simply saying that nothing we’re trying now is working, so why not try something totally radically new? The sad thing is, since his platform is constitution based, his ideas and ideals shouldn’t be new and radical… Seriously though, every other candidate sounds the same in more words or less, and it’s the same drivel we’ve been hearing for years. Ron Paul is like a breath of fresh air.

    Dan, I thought you were going to take a break from this blog? Couldn’t resist, could ya? ;)

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