So, you’ve stumbled onto my humble little blog. Perhaps you are a Millenial wondering why most of your friends aren’t fully employed. Or wondering why ObamaKare is being shoved down your throat. Or why your generation is on the hook for a national debt that stands at $17 $18 Trillion and counting. Maybe you are scratching your head wondering why your President thinks Global Warming the weather is more worrisome than Islamic Terror. And perhaps you’ve started to become aware there might be something the corrupt and biased lame stream media isn’t telling you. The answer, to these and other existential questions, is ... the Left - specifically, the modern American Progressive. Think of this site as a portal to a richer understanding of this answer, a portal purposely designed with a consciously cock-eyed bent to keep it entertaining. Because the First Amendment is forever and the Internet never forgets. (Plus you better figure out FICA isn't the name of a Swedish bikini model, before she eats your entire paycheck.)

How to use the portal? You could dive into my archive*. I was most active here 2010-2012, but that matters not. How many times do I need to demonstrate the central point? To wit, the political / ideological Left is a menace to the constitutional republic and must be resisted lest the American experiment in liberty devolve into socialist dystopia. If it's the more pointed hand-to-hand combat of the comment board that whets your appetite, click the 'My Disqus Comments' widget. I continue to visit that world from time to time as a light diversion. Or you could browse through my blog roll. It's a very representative collection of center-right blogs, though hardly exhaustive. I can't do the political / ideology thing 24x7, and you probably can't either. Leave that to the hysterical, talking point chanting, mob agitating, race baiting, election stealing, gaia worshiping, straw man torching, Islamic Terrorist appeasing, organized Left (aka OFA, MSNBC, UAW, SEIU, Think Progress, Media Matters, most of legacy media, the politically correct faculty lounge, anybody who belonged to Journolist, anybody connected to Occupy Wall Street, anything funded by George Soros or Tom Steyer, their paid Internet trolls, and the rest of the usual Team Leftie suspects).

*Re-posting encouraged. No need to ask for permission. Just follow the commonly accepted convention of acknowledging this site as original source with a link back. That way, you leave the asking for forgiveness to me.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Ron Paul a Conservative? (Part 2)

My own assessment of Ron Paul’s conservative credentials comes down to these three measures.

First, I’ve always believed the defining attribute of the conservative mind is a hard-headed realism. We conservatives begin our thought processes by first reasonably assessing reality, as it is presented to us by nature and our creator. We then apply proven conservative principles to this reality, in order to make incremental, measurable improvements to that reality - but always remaining mindful of the natural limits of man’s ability to manipulate nature as given to us by our creator.

Second, Ronald Reagan once famously said “my 80% friend is not my 20% enemy.” This is a profoundly conservative insight. To be conservative is to avoid the trap of thinking dogmatically. For example, as a libertarian conservative, I will not label social conservatives my enemies just because they may be slightly more inclined to use the powers of government to legislate morality. I’m happy to accept them into the conservative tent for the common ground we have on important issues such as fiscal responsibility (today’s single most important issue btw – but that’s out of scope for this post). I’m equally happy to have an open and honest debate where we disagree on the margins - using the brilliantly conceived political system given to us by our Founders.

Third, the realistic thinking demanded by the conservative philosophy also requires me to assign relative weights to the 80% side and the 20% side. If the potential impact of being wrong in the 20% areas of disagreement is inconsequential, or maybe even purely theoretical, then my favorite German phrase applies – “macht nichts” (usually said while shrugging shoulders). On the other hand, if the area of disagreement quite literally holds the potential for deadly consequences – well, then we have a different kind of argument altogether.

To organize my thoughts, I threw together the following table while making reference to Ron Paul’s Wikipedia entry.

Ron Paul Position






Rejects membership in NAFTA and WTO as "managed trade"

All trade between sovereign nations is by definition “managed.”  Treaties that  push the direction of the management toward openness are welcome.
tighter border security


Border security is an important measure in both the ongoing culture war and the War on Terror.
ending welfare benefits for illegal aliens


Welfare benefits are for citizens.
opposes birthright citizenship


Not a high priority for immigration reform.  If the borders were controlled and benefits for illegals weren’t as easily available, fewer illegals would try  to make anchor babies.  I see no reason (yet) to tinker with the Constitution here.
Opposes Illegal alien amnesty


What part of “illegal” do the Progressives not understand?
grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal targeting specific terrorists.

Falls into the same trap as the Law Enforcement approach to fighting Terrorism – too narrowly constrained and not nimble enough to win the fight.
never to raise taxes


We are certainly way over-taxed today.   The odds of me seeing a new tax I like in my remaining life span are slim to none.  I just don’t want to say “never” on the only legitimate means the government has to raise revenue for its
legitimate functions (far fewer than it is performing today).
Never approve a budget deficit


Again, absurdly high deficits are indeed public policy problem number one today. But, deficit spending per se is not automatically illegitimate.  The USA ran up deficits while winning WW II.  These deficits were easily closed by pro-growth economic policies in the 1950’s.
supports eliminating most federal  government agencies


Depends on what the meaning of “most” is.  I’m all in on eliminating Education and Energy for sure.  We could negotiate from there.
does not support a complete return to a gold standard, instead preferring to legitimize gold and silver as legal tender and to remove the sales tax on

I just don’t get how this is supposed to work.  Two currencies (paper and precious metal) – with one (precious metal) valued by the other (like any other product or service)?  Or is it the other way around – paper backed by metals (but not entirely)?  Sounds more like a proposal from a guy who has a lot of gold and silver stashed away and doesn’t want to be taxed at sales time.  IOW – it’s kinda kooky.
gradual elimination of the Federal Reserve System

I happen to like that monetary policy is separated from Treasury, unlike most other nations.  Diffusion of powers is a very constitutional position.  Paul misses the point here.
2nd Amendment rights


I’m perfectly happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul and exercise our 2nd Amendment rights against an army of Progressive zombies, if and when it becomes necessary.
Withdrawal  from North Atlantic Treaty Organization


NATO is the only military alliance we have that functions at all militarily.  But I’m perfectly willing to go it alone as American interests dictate.
withdrawal from the United Nations


Yeah, I like ragging on the UN as much as the next guy, but this is not exactly at the top of my priority list and definitely not worth the chaos that would erupt if actually attempted right now.  Radically reducing the amount of money the US throws down the UN rat hole has my full support, however.

This is the crux of my problem with Ron Paul … and being wrong on this literally holds deadly potential.

Ron Paul believes his positions are rooted in a strict respect for the Constitution. I give him credit for that. I also believe my positions are rooted in a strict respect for the Constitution. I hope he would give me credit for the same.

Where I think Ron Paul goes astray is he falls prey to the same cognitive fallacy as Progressive ideologues – that is, too literal and rigid an interpretation of his guiding philosophy.

Our strongest areas of disagreement are obviously in the War on Terror. Let’s explore this dimension on this point.

As a conservative I must recognize Radical Islam is a real phenomenon in my world. I also must recognize the world is extremely interconnected. I can use the Internet to communicate with anyone in the world instantly (so can Radical Islamists). I can use the intercontinental air flight system to be anywhere in the world within hours (so can Radical Islamists). In the spaces in between, the combustion engine, wireless communication devices, and various other technologies afford a freedom of movement our Founders could hardly imagine. Explosive technology that fits in a man’s crotch can bring down an airplane. Nuclear devices that fit in a backpack could immobilize a city.

Add all this up and what you have is a cult of insane murder monkeys possessing the potential for creating horrible chaos anywhere in the world. And, need I mention this murderous cult believes as a matter or religion America is the “Great Satan.”

Ron Paul and I are in full agreement on the defensive side of the ball in the War on Terror – i.e. tighter border security. The problem is nobody ever won a war playing defense exclusively.

Ron Paul devotees like to draw a distinction between isolationism and a policy of nonintervention. I find this to be a distinction without a difference. If you are involved in any way beyond your borders, you’ve intervened. It’s a lot like the age-old caution to scientists not to change the nature of what’s being measured by conducting the experiment. In the rather non-scientific field of international relations, it is quite impossible to be involved and not have an affect what’s happening. So, maybe we can agree it’s a judgment call along a continuum of degrees. Maybe we can also agree these judgment calls are some of the hardest decisions for anyone to make.

Ron Paul devotees also sometimes like to claim America was isolationist prior to the 20th Century. They sometimes invoke the Founding Fathers’ consensus position to avoid entanglement with European alliances as proof. Pure baloney.

The Founding Father’s lived in a different time and in very different circumstances. They rightly counseled against being entangled in European alliances - because this would have been, in their time, an unnecessary distraction. The western border of the United States at this time was well east of the Mississippi River. They were looking at a huge continent ripe for the conquering. Like it or not, so-called Manifest Destiny was an “imperial” policy. This policy was pursued by means including the Louisiana Purchase, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican War, and the Indian Wars, etc.

If anything, the United States of America has been far less “imperialistic” since the dawn of the 20th Century. In all the wars we’ve fought since 1900 – WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf I, Afghanistan, Iraq – the only land we’ve asked to keep is the cemeteries to bury our honored dead. We’ve also spent gobs and gobs of American treasure to rebuild the infrastructures and economies of our former adversaries – see, for example, Germany, Japan, and now Iraq. These are wise investments when they work. No stable democracy has ever waged war against another stable democracy.

According to Wikipedia, Ron Paul and I agreed on going into Afghanistan in 2001. I also found the tactics used in Afghanistan in 2001 to be brilliant – small boot-print CIA and Special Forces operations designed to kill Terrorists (and not much else).

According to Wikipedia, Ron Paul and I disagreed on the initial entry into Iraq. It’s not clear to me whether Ron Paul did not believe Saddam Hussein had WMD, or whether he believed Hussein had WMD and Iraq possessing WMD was insufficient justification. It doesn’t really matter. The fact is every credible intelligence agency on the planet felt Hussein had WMD at the time. Nor can anyone deny there were people under Hussein’s care in Iraq with Terrorist ties at the time. Plus, there was at the same time the unsolved Anthrax scare on American soil (still not really solved to everyone’s satisfaction btw). Therefore, Geo. Bush’s decision can be reasonably debated in retrospect in terms of tactical effectiveness; but certainly not criticized with absurd Leftie straw man arguments like the obnoxious “Bush lied, people died.”

Hussein was toppled in rather short order by the greatest fighting military the world has ever seen (ours). WMD was not found. I, personally, am shocked, shocked I tell you, at the total lack of MSM speculation that maybe the WMD was put on trucks and sent to fellow Baathist regime Syria for safekeeping. Use GoogleMaps to take a look at the highway system connecting Iraq and Syria, and ruminate on the possibility for yourself. But, hey, that’s just me.

But I digress. This is where events in Iraq overtook original intentions – as often happens in this messy world of ours. Al Qaeda saw a huge American military presence inside an Arabic nation, and decided to recruit Al Qaeda people from all over the Arabic world to fight the infidel force camped inside Iraq. You are free to argue in retrospect this unintended consequence should have been foreseen – but I defy you to find the contemporaneous MSM editorial that foresaw it.

This is where Geo. Bush and I saw things differently. Geo. Bush held steady to the “nation building” mission that is traditional after 20th Century American military victories. My view was narrower – just take the opportunity to play offense on the enemy’s soil and kill as many Al Qaeda recruits as possible (which would have required a much smaller military presence). Eventually, Gen. Petraeus came along with a plan to defeat the foreign Al Qaeda fighters and resume the original mission of nation building in Iraq (the “surge”). The result of Gen. Petreaus’ military brilliance and Geo. Bush’s resolve is a functioning democracy in the Arab world. That’s an accomplishment by anybody’s measure. It’s also an achievement that furthers the Founders vision of self-determination.

Ron Paul devotees (and anti-war progressives) sometimes throw out the lack of "Declaration of War" as an argument to de-legitimize the Iraq War. Baloney. Authority was granted by Congress by the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, enacted on October 16, 2002. Any argument this act does not satisfy Section 8 of the Constitution makes a distinction without a difference. The Obama administration continues to operate under its authority.

My personal view is our tactics in the War on Terror going forward should involve smaller, more precisely aimed, forces designed to kill and capture Terrorists wherever they may be. That means a big emphasis on human intelligence, Special Forces over huge unit deployments, and, yes, precisely targeted assassination operations. It also involves diplomacy (overt and covert) that includes capitalizing on opportunities for regime change whenever there is a chance to topple a regime that could be expected to share WMD with Terrorists (see what’s going on in Iran today.)

So, what we have here (that’s a ‘Cool Hand Luke’ reference) is a long-winded arrival at realizing Ron Paul and I have a profound disagreement when it comes to playing offense against the single most deadly dangerous threat of our day.

Ensuring safety and security for the citizenry is the number one legitimate function of government. This is the function of government that secures the ability to pursue all other rights. Ignoring an existential threat to the safety and security of the citizenry is not very conservative, and not very libertarian.

Ron Paul may be my 80% friend, but that doesn’t mean I need to support the guy for President.
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