Ok, maybe not all Ron Paul supporters feel this way. Maybe I’m the only one. So change the title of this post to “How one Ron Paul supporter views Mitt Romney” if you want, although I suspect I’m not alone.
Yesterday I had two debates on Facebook with various friends and acquaintances where I stated that if Romney wins the GOP nomination I will not vote for him. Many think this is out of spite, or an emotional reaction just because “my guy” didn’t win. But it’s not. I’m not the type of guy who is into “team spirit”. I went to college, but I didn’t care if my school’s football team won or lost. I’m pragmatic about my membership in the Republican Party. And I have absolutely no loyalty to Ron Paul. The only reason I support him is because of his message and what he stands for. If he stopped spreading that message and changes his views to something I didn’t support I would drop my support of him in a second. What I am loyal to is that message–the message that liberty works, and government control doesn’t.
In the 2008 election cycle I was a die-hard Romney supporter. I thought he would be an awesome president. But then he dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain, and that’s when my doubts started. I thought McCain was horrible. How could Romney endorse the guy? I couldn’t bring myself to vote for McCain, but of course I wasn’t about to vote for Obama either. So I voted for the crackpot Ron Paul. I didn’t know anything about him, but I figured I would do my tiny part to send a message that I didn’t like either of the candidates the two parties had decided we could choose from.
After voting for Ron Paul by writing his name in, I figured it might be a good idea to look into what he stood for. I read his book The Revolution, and although it wasn’t the most well-written book, I found myself agreeing with Paul on almost every issue. For the first time in my life I questioned some long held beliefs such as whether the war on drugs was worth it, and whether everything our military was involved in was wise. Prior to reading that book I assume you were either a supporter of the war on drugs, or you were a pot-smoking hippie, and there was no other position one could take. When it came to the military either you supported the troops and you wanted to increase military spending, or you wanted the troops to die painful deaths and you wanted the US to be wiped off the earth. There was no way you could be in favor of cutting military spending and supporting the troops and having a strong defense, that was a logical impossibility in my mind.
But Ron Paul got me thinking. Eventually I changed my mind on a lot of things I had previously believed. It didn’t happen overnight. It took the past three years during which I read <a href=”http://www.thepresidentsbooks.com”>scores of books on politics, economics, and government</a>, listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts, and read hundreds of articles. Not all of it was pro-Ron Paul, most of it had nothing to do with Ron Paul. I read biographies of the Founders like John Adams by David McCullough, political coverage like Game Change (don’t read this unless you want to lose almost all faith in politicians), Men in Black by Mark Levin, and Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. These people are hardly Ron Paul supporters, and in some cases are decidedly anti-Ron Paul. But the more I read, the more I got a picture of the current state of the United States, as well as what our Founders had intended. I started to see that Ron Paul was not the extremist he had been made to be, but rather that the country as a whole had moved to such a position of extremity compared to what the Founders envisioned that anyone with a view similar to the Founders now seemed like a radical. The Founders would be appalled to see today’s federal government regulating food, drugs, healthcare, providing Social Security, outlawing silver and gold as money, and policing the world with troops in 130+ countries and over 1,000 bases with more military spending than the rest of the countries of the world combined. The Founders wanted a system that guaranteed liberty to each individual to what they would with their lives as long as they didn’t hurt anyone else. The more I looked into Ron Paul the more I saw that he understood the Founders, and it became clear when another politician did or didn’t.
Whereas before I saw almost all Republicans and Democrats as diametric opposites, I started to see that some Democrat politicians understood more about liberty than some Republicans, although the vast majority of Republican and Democrat politicians seemed to not have a clue, and were interested in attaining power, wealth, and fame more than in helping the country. The simple graphic below shows how I saw things before. Ignore position such as right and left.
After learning about Ron Paul’s message I started to see things more as follows.
In other words, I no longer see much difference between Romney and the Democrats like Obama, at least not compared to Ron Paul and the Founders.
At this point people are usually aghast and incredulous. After all, Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare. Well and good, but I see this as posturing in light of Romney’s actions as Governor of Massachussetts. At the center is the individual mandate which, in the federal program states that all residents of the United States must purchase health insurance. The MA law states that all resident of MA must purchase health insurance. I agree it is a different matter that one was implemented on a state level while the other is being implemented on a federal level, but for me, the point is that Romney supported using government to force someone to buy a product they may not want. Whether or not this is done at a federal or state level, it still violates what I consider the fundamental right to property. It is different than car insurance, but let’s not get into those details right now, suffice it to say I see the individual mandate as a violation of my liberty, and I see anyone who would support such a thing, whether at a state or federal level, as not understanding the principles the Founders held dear and enshrined in the Constitution.
Furthermore, I see all taxation as theft, and the taking, by force, of my money, as fundamentally immoral. I do not believe I have effectively entered into a contract to be subject to whatever the government wants to do to me simply by virtue of me living within the United States. By that logic we could say the slaves should have just left the country if they didn’t like it here, and that their staying here implies they were agreeing to the state of affairs they found themselves in. Programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are unconstitutional and immoral in that the government takes my money to fund these programs and doesn’t give me the choice of opting out. Romney wants to “fix” these programs. To me, this is an extreme position, as is any position that doesn’t advocate abolishing these programs. For me, this once again makes Romney not all that different than Obama, who also wants to “fix” these programs.
If there is one area of federal government the Constitution justifies it is national defense. But I see the military policy we’ve had for the past 100 years not as national defense, but as empire. It started with Woodrow Wilson who wanted to “make the world safe for democracy”. Soon we entered WWI and contributed to the death and suffering of millions. Out of WWI came the Treaty of Versaille which directly led to Hitler’s rise to power. As Britain’s empire faded in the wake of WWII, the United States government filled the void, taking over where Britain and France had left off in the Middle East. The US government deposed the democratically elected leader of Iran and installed the Shah. The Shah was a cruel dictator who murdered and tortured his people with his secret police who were trained by the CIA. The US backed Saddam Hussein’s rise to power in Iraq, including his war against Iran. Today’s tense relationship between the US and Iran, as well as the general state of affairs, can be considered almost a direct result of US government policies in that part of the world. The Korean war was started without a declaration of war from Congress as required by the Constitution. Same for Vietnam and every other military action since WWII. We were lied into Vietnam by our government. Likewise Iraq, and what started as a brief military action in Afghanistan turned into a 10 year occupation costing hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives. Today we have a military presence in over 130 countries with over 1,000 military bases. Our government spends more on our military than all other countries of the world combined. Is this defense? The logic seems to be that if anyone else is capable of hurting the US, then we are at risk and need to eliminate the risk. The end result of this line of thinking is that the US must rule the entire world by force. Is it any wonder the rest of the world sees the US as a bully? How would we feel if this were the attitude Russia or China had? Are we making the world safer, or are we making it more dangerous as other countries build up their military might to protect themselves from the US government? Is this what the Founders envisioned?
Even if one believes we should control the rest of the world and hold it in submission, we cannot afford it. Our military spending has doubled in the past 10 years. The Pentagon says it is too large to be audited. We simply do not have the money to continue on this path. Nor is it the way to ensure peace and protection for our country, as the past 100 years should show us.
Both Bush and Obama ran as anti-war. They declared that they would not be involved in nation building, that they would engage in diplomacy, that they would seek peace. Instead, both of them have engaged in unconstitutional wars. Romney appears to want to continue increasing military spending as he states “I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.” If Romney doesn’t think we already have that, I wonder how much more we’ll have to tax the American people to get there.
It is no coincidence that the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world were created just prior to WWI and a century of the greatest wars the world has ever seen. Without central banking, governments had to take money and resources out of the hands of citizens to finance war. With central banks, licensed to print money on demand, governments could effectively tax their citizens without the citizens knowing it. If a country has a total money supply of $100 and its central bank prints an additional $100, this does not mean the country is twice as rich, but that the $100 that existed before is now worth half as much as it was before the new money was printed. The dollar has lost 98% of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Where is Romney’s outrage at this theft? This is not a minor issue, this is the foundation of almost every problem our government has created in the past 100 years, and the restraining and abolishment of the Federal Reserve is the solution. Romney has not come out against the Federal Reserve, but rather supported TARP and the bailouts financed by the Fed, just like Obama.
There are those who say it is childish to not vote for Romney if he wins the nomination. But imagine that somehow, instead of Romney running on the Republican ticket and Obama on the Democratic ticket we instead had Chavez and Castro. Chavez might be a little better than Castro, but they’re basically the same. If those were the two choices, would those of you who are Romney supporters vote for Chavez just so that the Republican party could win? Would you vote for Chavez because he’s not quite as bad as Castro?
I’m not saying Romney is like Chavez nor that Obama is like Castro, I’m merely using extremes to make a point. I don’t think Ron Paul is just a little bit better than Romney. I think Romney’s perspective on freedom, the Constitution, and this country is fundamentally flawed, almost as flawed as Obama’s. It makes no sense to me to vote for the lesser of two evils when there are good men available, even if those good men stand no chance of winning. If all the Republican and Democrat parties have to do to maintain power and continue driving this country in the wrong direction is to make sure we always are restricted to two evils to choose from, then they’ve already won. We can only take control of one of the parties if there is an alternative to the two parties. It may not happen in this election cycle, but because the popularity of Ron Paul’s ideas is growing either the Republican party will be forced to embrace the message or cease to exist once we reach a tipping point, much as the Whig party disappeared quickly in the 1800s.
I would prefer that Ron Paul win the nomination. I think he stands a better chance than Romney of beating Obama because his message is different, whereas Romney’s only sounds different. But I’ll settle for spreading the message if we can’t get the man, and the best way I see to do that is not to help Romney get in, but to make Ron Paul a threat to the Republican party.
Could I change my mind? Sure. Reading this article last night got me thinking. But this is where I stand right now, as I believe so do many other Ron Paul supporters.