Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ron Paul.

Man, I dislike Ron Paul supporters. I've met a few in person and they seem reasonable. But as a group, something happens and they become rabid. They put stickers everywhere, on buildings, road signs, and light posts. I even had a Ron Paul sticker put on my car. I see people randomly walking around Tucson with signs that say "Google Ron Paul." There is a house nearby with a huge Ron Paul banner hanging from it. I suspect a lot of these people are not aware of Ron Paul's positions on a lot of things (for instance, wanting to get rid of the department of education).* They like that he's an anti-war, anti-establishment Republican (and, to be fair, that's not nothing!).

And, now, if you look at the Stephen Colbert for President groups on Facebook, they've taken over those, too! Every other post is about Ron Paul. I suspect they figure that people disillusioned enough about the political process to support Stephen for president are disillusioned enough to support Ron Paul.

*A few times I've asked Ron Paul volunteers about his position on things like gay marriage, separation of church and state, and other things where he does not take the typical libertarian position. They seemed largely unaware of where he stood. Well, dear reader, he is for federal regulation of marriage (perhaps the only thing he's for the federal regulation of!!) and against the separation of church and state (and for me to be saying this, well, that's something. I'm for more religion in the public sphere--though not for more religion in government).

Edit: Thanks to commenter Brent, I realized that I was wrong. Ron Paul is not in favor of federal regulation of marriage, as I had previously mentioned. See the comments for more discussion.


Brent said...

First of all, I want to apologize for my fellow supporters who violated private property rights. Ron Paul's campaign talks about strengthening private property rights, and apparently these supporters have put stickers on your car - a bit ironic.

Secondly, I believe most of the supporters (at least the ones I know) know about his positions. I know I do.

You say he wants to get rid of the Department of Education, as if it was a bad thing. I currently am in High School and I've been through the "No Child Left Behind" act, and the other mistakes centralized government tends to force upon its states. I can tell you, the Department of Education does nothing but harm to America's education. Since it's conception, our ranking in education has gone down.

Education should be handled by local governments and the parents, not unelected officials in Washington who know nothing about the situations and often make mistakes.

As for the Stephan Colbert thing, I understand why they are doing that. Stephan Colbert is running as a joke, and many potential voters will vote for him to join in. However, Ron Paul needs those votes to end up getting the nomination. SC is an early state and Stephan decided to run there, as it is his hometown. Hopefully little damage will be done.

Also, Ron Paul is AGAINST federalizing marriage. He wants to leave it up to the states, and, in actuality, leave it up to the churches. He believes government shouldn't even be involved since government only recently entered this business due to health reasons. But he believes things like Gay Marriage should be left by state. The voters of each state will decide on such issues.

As for separation of Church and State, I can see your point to an extent. He doesn't believe in forcing a religion upon anyone, nor creating a theocracy, but he does want to leave things up the the states. If the school board voted to have a prayer time, they should be allowed to. This is something that doesn't concern me as much, though. There are massive economic and policy problems that effect America and he's the only one I've seen willing to fix America rather than get us into more debt and more wars.

-Brent Burk

Jennifer said...

Hi Brent!

Thanks for responding.

Yes, NCLB is a really bad law. But it was enacted by people who don't believe that government can do anything good. Same with the Katrina response. Yes, it's "proof" that government is ineffective. But, it was acting under policies enacted by those who are determined to show that government is ineffective. Why should we expect those who think that government is the enemy to enact workable, successful policy.

We have to remember that there's not this government<-->people dichotomy. We are the government! We are what we make it. The government can do things that we, as individuals and even as local communities, are unable to do.

Education, in the U.S., unlike in many other countries, is largely decentralized. There is no national curriculum. The states, by and large, handle these issues. The Dept. of Education is a department that consolidated many of the various federal offices that dealt with national educational issues, e.g., federal student loans, national education research, etc. They don't do a whole lot, and they put everyone under one umbrella rather than have the inefficiency and waste of these programs spread out in different agencies with no communication.

And, I'm sorry, you are correct about Paul being against federal regulation of marriage!

He is, however, for, and indeed a sponsor of, the We the People Act (

The act would prohibit the Supreme Court and all other federal courts from ruling on the constitutionality of state laws. If passed by Congress, this act would severely limit some of the most basic legal principles of the Constitution. From wikipedia: "on subjects such as the display of religious text and imagery on government property, abortion, sexual practices, and same-sex marriage, and would forbid federal courts from spending any money to enforce their judgments. It would also make federal court decisions on those subjects non-binding as precedent in state courts. The legislation would be immune to any constitutional challenge other than to the Act itself."

That's really sketchy. The courts are one of the most important protectors of our rights, and one would think that a libertarian would be defending them.

Sorry for this quick response... and I'll be sure to update my post and thank you for pointing out where I was wrong on the marriage issue!

Brent said...

Oh, thanks for the response to my, response. :).

I agree, that legislation is fishy. I think Dennis Kucinich also sponsored it, which is odd because he's on the other side of the isle and I wouldn't think he would sponsor a bill like that. However, that's why we have a congress :).

As for the Department of Education, I'm still not a fan of it. If just heard too many stories, and the fact that Bush was able to do what he did proves that government shouldn't have that much power. If a mistake like this was made at a local level, only the state would suffer rather than all 50 (or 48, I believe 2 states don't accept federal funding for education because of NCLB - they seem to be doing pretty good though, so I heard.)

What I think would be interesting is a voucher-system. Give students a certain amount of money and allow them to pick a school. They do this in some countries, like Hong Kong (city-state?), and they are very high in the education ranks. And it allows parents to choose what their children learn to a point. But ya, I'm just not a big fan of the Dep. of Ed :).

In my opinion, I think the Federal Government's job only has two things it must deal with: Justice and Defense.

FEMA's response to Katrina was terrible, as we all know. They refused to let citizens and locals help, had national guards in Iraq (thanks Bush!), and they overproduced trailers that were never used and gave money to people who didn't need it.

To me, it just shows that centralized government can't fix localized problems. The federal government can surely help, but I don't think they need the role they have now. In the Waco tornadoes citizens didn't depend on "FEMA", they just worked their tails off and fixed their community up.

But today instead of donating to non-profit organizations to help fix the problem with the locals, we pay taxes to pay centralized bureaucrats who seem to have little motivation or understanding of the local area.

I dono, I'm just blabbing around.

And it looks like you like politics, as do I! Here's something I found interesting on the web:

Shows every single presidential advertisement since 1952. I'm watching them all :).

Jennifer said...

I love that website! I've been playing around on it for a while :-)

As for vouchers, it seems like rather than retreating from the goal of public education, we should be investing in it. With vouchers, you help people who are unable to afford tuition at a private school by giving them some money to help cover the costs. But there are people who absolutely cannot afford a private school, even with subsidized tuition. So, those who are marginally better off will be able to get out of the failing public school system (after all, we can only expect quality to decrease since we are investing more in vouchers and less in improving the public system), and those who are poorest (and also, for various reasons [all social, not inherent] the least likely to succeed in schools) will be left in these schools, and they will have the poorer teachers (since those who are most qualified will be able to get better paying jobs in the expanding private sector).

Also: private schools are able to discriminate freely. They can keep out people who will raise the costs of education. They can refuse to accept special education students, for example. These students cost more per capita than "normal" students. If we concentrate the high-needs children in the public schools, which are being less and less funded under a voucher system, this, too reinforces inequality. Schools are likely to also reject students with other learning disabilities, or with histories of behavioral problems, again, concentrating them in the newly inferior public system.

Ideally, public schools are tool for social equality. No matter where you come from, you can get an education that will allow you to make something of yourself. Now, we know that we are far, far from this goal. Educational systems largely reproduce inequality structures. However, a voucher system that concentrates the poorest in the public schools doesn't seem like a good way to work towards the goal of equal opportunity.

Paul Eres said...

One other point -- eliminating the Dept. of Education would *not* get rid of funding of public schools. Public schools are funded by the states and prior to 1980 each state ran its own schools. Getting rid of the Dept of Education (which RP said would not be one of his priorities) would return it to how it was prior to 1980, where each state was in charge of its own school system.