Ron Paul Supporters: When It Comes to Obama vs Romney, Just Say No
In a Breitbart.com article entitled "Time for Ron Paul Fans to Support the Constitution," Kurt Schlichter discusses the dire necessity of ousting President Obama and replacing him with Mitt Romney. Schlichter attempts to make the case that four more years of the current administration will be the final nail in the Constitution's coffin, and in order to prevent this, Ron Paul supporters must bite the bullet and vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Schlichter, like any good Republican, accurately and ruthlessly identifies the danger of re-electing President Obama. The administration's record has been nothing short of appalling on civil liberties issues ranging from free speech to habeas corpus (!), and that's not even brushing the surface. Let's not forget the disastrous state of the economy, which has only been weakened by the phony "stimulus" attempts encouraged by the president, and, of course, the fact that the "peace candidate" acts a whole lot like George W. Bush on foreign policy. Sure, he talks like a dove, but he walks like a hawk.
I agree that the Democrats are hypocrites who cannot be trusted when they pay mere lip-service to civil liberties, because in reality they oppose these essential freedoms. I only wish that Kurt Schlichter would apply the same scrutiny to the Republicans and Romney.
As a libertarian (and fervent Ron Paul supporter), a candidate's ability to protect the Constitution is paramount to me. In order for a candidate to protect the Constitution, he must have a thorough understanding of its principles and their application. If we take a look at Romney's record, it becomes eminently clear that he fails this litmus test.
One of President Obama's greatest offenses in office was the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on the suspicion that they may be affiliated with Al Qaeda or similar groups. When asked about this at a debate, Romney agreed with President Obama, stating that Americans "don't have a right to join groups ... [that have] declared war against America, that's treason."
Yes, if an American joined Al Qaeda to harm Americans, that would be treason, but what does the Constitution say that we do with traitors?
Well, according to the Fifth Amendment, we give them a public trial before a jury of their peers. Romney and Obama agree that you do not have a right to a trial, and there is no need for habeas corpus. In other words, both of them support a return to the medieval judicial system of the twelfth century, prior to the Magna Carta.
Both presidential candidates also support the perversely named PATRIOT Act, which repeals the Fourth Amendment by allowing the federal government to conduct warrantless searches on your phone calls. These candidates are equally horrendous when it comes to civil liberties. Both of their points of view stem from premises that are diametrically opposed to the fundamental principles underlying the Constitution.
But Mitt Romney supports free markets, right? After all, he even picked "fiscal hawk" Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Can't libertarians reconcile with the Republican ticket over their agreement on capitalism?
In short, no. Romney and Ryan's rhetoric is certainly in favor of free markets, but their actions certainly are not. In this respect, both Romney and Ryan are similar to Obama and the Democrats. All of them say things that sound pro-liberty, then do the opposite.
Both Romney and Ryan supported TARP. Romney liked the auto company bailouts so much that he decided to take credit for them. Some may say that since these policies were, on face, "pro-business," these stances verify the Republican ticket's capitalist credentials. This could not be further from the truth.
Government privileges, like corporate welfare, are not a part of a proper capitalist system. In fact, the system that most accurately describes these sorts of policies is fascism. (Fascism and socialism are, of course, two sides of the same bloody authoritarian coin.)
Despite the stark philosophic differences between Ron Paul libertarians and the Republican ticket, some Republicans will argue that Ron Paulers should still vote for Romney/Ryan, because they are the "lesser of two evils." Ryan's budget plan will at least restore fiscal sanity and slow the explosive growth of the federal government, they say.
This, too, is nonsense. Paul Ryan's "draconian" cuts would balance the federal budget by 2040. In other words, the Republicans only want to kick the can further down the road — they want to perpetuate the same problems that have landed us in this mess. Ryan only proposes that we increase spending more slowly. Now that the national debt is beginning to overtake GDP, it's time to talk about real cuts, not cuts in the projected increases.
Given all of this, Ron Paul supporters like myself are in a precarious position. On one side, we are faced with a choice between a ticket that represents spending growth, encourages socialized corporate losses, and supports breaches of constitutionally guaranteed liberties. On the other side, we have Barack Obama.
Both tickets represent more of the same beltway politics. Both tickets support economic policies that have been sinking the American system for decades. Many Republicans, like Schlichter, are quick to talk about the evils of the Obama administration. What they fail to see, however, is that a potential Romney administration will perpetuate those same evils.
If Ron Paul supporters were to take Kurt Schlichter's advice and "support the Constitution", how could we proceed? If my only options this November are Obama, whose contempt for the Constitution is clear both in his actions and rhetoric, and Romney, whose contempt for the Constitution is plainly evident in his actions, there's only one thing my conscience will permit me: to shrug.