Is Ron Paul prepared to lead?
During lunch, I came across this facebook post by a friend:
I believe Ron Paul to be a very decent and honorable man, and do not consider him the racist others have charged him to be, though his affiliations and writings cast long shadows; I do find his penchant for conspiratorial theories a bit alarming; no, my opposition to him stems from a basic philosophical principle and a very practical reality – first, he is a libertarian and I am a conservative – some things are far too important to be left to states and individuals; i.e. life and marriage; the unbridled liberty he promotes is neither biblical nor good for society; secondly, and just as important, RP simply lacks the leadership to be President; consider that in the last fourteen years in Congress, he has sponsored over 400 pieces of legislation and actually gotten one (yes one!) bill passed, and that pertaining to land in his home district; great leaders build coalitions, i.e. Washington, Wilberforce, Churchill; I have read Wilberforce, and no, RP is no William Wilberforce. As Gandalf said to Frodo, ” we all have a role to play.” He has served his purpose of highlighting important issues, but he would be neither a good nor wise leader; that role is more suitable for others.
This dear brother and I agree on many, many things, but we cannot seem to agree on who the best candidate is. I would like to address a few of these comments with the hope that some of these misconceptions might be brought to light.
He begins by acknowledging that Ron Paul is a decent and honorable man. This is truly an undeniable fact. The media elite–conservative and liberal–acknowledge the gracious character and remarkable generosity of a man who delivered over 4,000 babies, and who many times served his community through his medical expertise for free many times. Ron Paul lived and lives his convictions. This is a rare combination in an age where convictions last only as long as the next poll.
The author rightly asserts that Paul is not a racist; again, something that everyone who knows him and who has read his books, lectures, speeches, articles, etc. will affirm without hesitation. Ron Paul–like him or not–does not have a racist bone. He avoids the grouping of people into categories, choosing rather to view them individually. Each individual is responsible for his actions and is not to be found guilty merely for his association with a larger group. Collectivism has largely gained political vote, but has not been a sustainable philosophy. Many atrocities have occurred in the name of collectivism. Paul, on the other hand, does not wish to condemn an entire race or group, but rather view them as individuals pursuing goals. Thus, individuals have personal responsibility for their actions (an idea that fits perfectly well with the Puritan principles). On the other hand, in light of collectivist principles, the federal government–clothing herself in humanitarianism–chooses to bestow favors on groups. Thus, when programs fail–and they do almost always– entire groups fail, leaving the individual without the ability to escape being caught in the web of social and welfare programs.
The writer argues that some of his “conspiratorial theories are a bit alarming.” But these conspiracies are generally self-observed conspiracies. Further, many are real and proven facts. The fact that Paul associates himself with people who believe that 9-11 was an inside job, for instance, does not mean that he believes it was an inside job (in my estimation an absurd conspiracy), but rather that conspiracy theorists are drawn to Paul’s overall philosophy of questioning major government intents. “Conspiracies,” argued Gary North, “often lead to regression.” They can be deteriorating; but the ever growing leviathan, called the Federal Government, has left the doors of failure so wide open that it is now a simple task to emerge with fairly convincing theories about the government’s mis-behavior nationally and internationally.
Again, a conspiracy is simply an attempt to hide something or some act while selling the transparency speech to the public. In other words, the government says something to appease the public, while acting as she pleases behind closed doors. In this case, the world is largely conspiratorial, since it declares its good intents, while attempting to create a babelic reign. But God does not fall for it, since He has a conspiracy of his own (Psalm 2).
He also observes that his fundamental difference is that “Paul is a libertarian and he is a conservative – some things are far too important to be left to states and individuals; i.e. life and marriage; the unbridled liberty he promotes is neither biblical nor good for society.”
There are some definitions that need to be addressed. As a theocrat (one who believes in the comprehensive reign of the Triune God), I follow the writings of R.J. Rushdoony and others who called themselves Christian libertarians. It would be utterly absurd to say Rushdoony was not concerned about morality. He has essentially written the largest commentary on the Ten Commandments in the last 300 years. The commentary argues at times even for the death penalty for certain behaviors. However, Rushdoony understood that a revolution in thinking demands regeneration. He was concerned about changing the mind before the law.
Ron Paul, though not a theocrat, follows similar thinking. He would not take it as far, but his philosophical framework would be the one that would–should it be successful–open the door to a localized, and then worldwide theocracy; that is, a world that acknowledges the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To press the point, what is a conservative? Goldwater’s classic has long vaporized. Today, conservatism if attached to Bush, means endless wars and trillions of dollars re-building other nations (something George Washington fiercely opposed, and something, which even George Bush opposed at one time). If attached to most of the conservatives in this race, it means continuing to federalize education and send tax payer’s money to support the remarkable luxury of dictators in the Middle East. In other cases, it means simply reforming massive programs, while disdaining those who wish to see these programs abolished, or as Paul suggests, (e)merge with other programs in a transitional-like nature. Paul’s views are incredibly moderate at times, since he does not so much want to abolish many of these programs, but actually transition (change) the public’s false perception of the benefits of these programs.
I concur that marriage and life are foundational, but on a practical level: What are the chances of marriage and life amendments being made to the constitution? One can argue that we need a republican supreme court majority. If the supreme court ever reverses abortion on a federal level or makes marriage–in the Judeo/Christian tradition–to be the law of the land, I would be delighted, but the reality is it is highly unlikely at this stage. On the life issue, it is important to note that Paul did sign the Personhood Amendment, and has introduced numerous pro-life legislation, which would view life as beginning at conception. Paul has made clear that he does not want to give states the possibility to legalize abortion, but rather to allow states to reclaim their rights to outlaw abortion; rights, which were taken in Roe v. Wade. He even has two books dealing with the subject. In Abortion and Liberty, Ron Paul freely quotes from Francis Schaeffer, and other gigantic figures of the pro-life movement. Paul himself has delivered over 4,000 babies without ever allowing an abortion to practiced under his authority and leadership. Paul has been married for over 50 years. His life is a testament to his view on marriage. He believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that the best way to make this idea a common idea is by taking the federal government off the marriage business. Allow the states to rule on these issues. Allow the Constitutional principles of states’ rights to deal with these moral issues. The issue is not about morality per se; we both agree that we want a moral, God-ordained government. The question is: How is this morality to be implemented? By one monumental decree? something I would love to see. Or by incremental changes in thinking at a more local level? There is plenty of historical evidence for the latter. Of course, the latter is by default the constitutional position, since Article 1. section 8 is silent on these matters.
Finally, my faithful and eloquent brother concludes:
(Ron Paul) lacks the leadership to be President; consider that in the last fourteen years in Congress, he has sponsored over 400 pieces of legislation and actually gotten one (yes one!) bill passed, and that pertaining to land in his home district; great leaders build coalitions, i.e. Washington, Wilberforce, Churchill; I have read Wilberforce, and no, RP is no William Wilberforce. As Gandalf said to Frodo, ” we all have a role to play.” He has served his purpose of highlighting important issues, but he would be neither a good nor wise leader; that role is more suitable for others.
The argument is made that Ron Paul is not able to persuade others, since out of the many legislation only an insignificant one passed. Ron Paul–or Dr. No–as many call him is known for many times being the lonely voice in congress. He has never voted for a tax increase and he has consistently voted against bailouts. The latter is a fascinating display of leadership, since most Republicans actually caved in and allowed the country to pump in billions of dollars, which in the end ended where the bailouts did: in the hands of wealthy bankers at home and abroad.
The men listed as examples, especially Wilberforce, were not men whose ideas were popular and who received the acclamation of the establishment, but actually men who understood that truth is better worked out over time. And that when our ideas do not succeed, we try and try again. Ron Paul fits the bill. For over 30 years he has spoken against the monstrous and disastrous Federal Reserve, which has now become the financial bride of the Federal Government. He has now turned on the light in a secretive and dark organization. Even fellow candidates have thanked him for his bold pursuit of this issue. As Dilorizenzo so ably summarizes Paul’s ability to persuade:
Ron Paul has been persuasive enough to be reelected a dozen times in his rural Texas congressional district despite the fact that he is in favor of ending all farm welfare programs. He has been persuasive enough to be Number One in the Iowa polls less than a week from the Iowa Caucuses and near the top in national polls. He has been persuasive enough to incite thousands of people to volunteer endless hours working for his election. He has been persuasive enough to active-duty military personnel to be the top recipient of campaign donations from them, receiving more donations from active-duty military people than ALL THE OTHER REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED. He has been persuasive enough to have authored several New York Times bestsellers. He has been persuasive enough to have become a YouTube sensation. He has been persuasive enough to shock the entire Washington establishment by collecting tens of millions of dollars in small, individual campaign donations in fundraising “money bombs” organized by strangers.
In the end, Ron Paul has been a leader. He has not been the type of charming leader that compromises here and there, and gets his way. Rather, he has been a leader consistent to his principles and faithful to his vow to the Constitution. He has a role to play, and this is the role of every leader: to persevere in his message, to educate and re-orient our attention to the true meaning of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Others, are not more suitable, they are mere repetitions of the status quo.