Keith Boyea's Blog

Notes & Commentary on National Security, Current Affairs and Bourbon

Some Thoughts on Ron Paul

There has been a debate raging in the blogosphere and in print on how left leaning people should feel about Ron Paul.  The short story is that Dr. Paul appeals to some on the left because of his views on civil liberties* and American empire.  He has some unusual beliefs about the Federal Reserve and the gold standard, but what really bothers pretty much everyone is the publication of blatantly racist and homophobic articles in a newsletter in his name in the late 80s and 90s.  Paul claims to neither have written nor approved the articles.

The newsletters controversy rightly calls into question Ron Paul’s views on race.  There is just no excuse for it.  But I wanted to contrast the newsletters with what Ron Paul is saying right now.  The following excerpt is from the GOP debate on 7 Jan 2012:

PAUL: Well, it’s been explained many times, and everything’s written 20 years ago, approximately, that I did not write. So concentrating on something that was written 20 years ago that I didn’t write, you know, is diverting the attention from most of the important issues.

But the inference is obvious that — and you even bring up the word racial overtones. More importantly, you ought to ask me what my relationship is for racial relationships. And one of my heroes is Martin Luther King because he practiced the libertarian principle of peaceful resistance and peaceful civil disobedience, as did Rosa Parks did.

But, also, I’m the only one up here and the only one in the Democratic Party that understands true racism in this country is in the judicial system. And it has to do with enforcing the drug laws.

Look at the percentages. The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites. And yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately. They’re — they’re prosecuted and imprisoned way disproportionately. They get — they get the death penalty way disproportionately.

How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution?

But poor minorities have an injustice. And they have an injustice in war, as well, because minorities suffer more. Even with a draft — with a draft, they suffered definitely more. And without a draft, they’re suffering disproportionately.

If we truly want to be concerned about racism, you ought to look at a few of those issues and look at the drug laws, which are being so unfairly enforced.

To my knowledge Ron Paul is the only candidate in the GOP talking about institutional racism (albeit in his characteristic inartful way). I think this is a serious point: The Government will never be able to eliminate personal racism, meaning a person expressing a prejudice against another racial or ethnic group.  Racism of that sort will probably always be with us.  But institutional racism–racism inherent in the system–is something Government has a duty to address.  The things Ron Paul mentioned above, the disproportionate effect of the drug war on African-Americans, is an example of institutional racism.  And he’s the only one in the GOP that wants to do something about it.

I don’t think this means I’ll feel comfortable voting for Ron Paul, but I am going to give him a more serious look than I have previously.

*I do recognize that Ron Paul might send the responsibility for civil liberties to the states, which may lead to civil liberties abuses in some states.  I don’t feel fully comfortable with this.


Written by keithboyea

January 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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