Although domestically some may say Ron Paul has some great views and that this man could save our country from our current debt crisis, there are some great problems with what he says and believes. Very few people who like him refute this and seem to agree that there are some issues here. The problem is not inherently in that he is too political but the problem comes to his lack of pragmatism. In the real world, you can take the moral high ground for as long as you want, but in the end your morals have to be questioned and have to be pushed everyday and judged not in the black and white like you believe they are, but in the shades of gray that every single decision we make is actually a part of. This is life, and this is what the man Ron Paul misses out on. He is a good politician and without getting into the political disagreements and problems I have with his past, I will just focus on what he says about his ideals and the issues therein.
To put it more succinctly, his views seem to be rather consistent and they are based on a strict constitutional interpretation which is something our nation could use domestically to a large extent. Our federal Government has ballooned into a rather large organism that is not accountable and has no real checks and balances to make sure it keeps itself fiscally sound or otherwise in check which is one thing our founding fathers did intend the Government to do. On the other hand, if we look at intent and not strict constitutional interpretations, we are not really making the same kind of moral choices as Ron Paul either, and as such his arguments are not the same here either. But for the sake of argument, it can be said that a stricter set of interpretations to some extent might not be a bad idea domestically to help rein in some Government abuse. To some extent the Federal Government in all branches has become burdensome and otherwise large, but in the same token, to argue that we must strictly interpret the constitution is also going to cause issues if we take the moral choice that this is right no matter what.
If we morally set ourselves on a course that we must do X, this means that we set ourselves on a course that might be bad and say “well we can do evil because this document says we should.” And then we set ourselves up to do evil in the name of the founding fathers. This should sound familiar, because man has done this for years in religion by misinterpreting religious texts and doing evil in the name of God all in the name of misinterpreting various holy words. Any work whether it’s the US Constitution or the Bible or the Koran can be misconstrued and this is where we get into trouble.
And this is the case in point for where Ron Paul gets into trouble. His strict interpretation for foreign involvement looks morally sound and sounds rather good to some Americans on paper. Yes, we should bring the troops home and use simple diplomacy to achieve our ends. This saves money, we can use aid money as a bargaining chip perhaps, but after that, what stops someone from say just telling us to shove off? We have no bases anywhere but in the US, and since we are strictly a defensive country, what are we going to do, spit on them? Defense never won a war, which is where the pragmatism I mentioned comes back into play. You don’t win wars by sitting on your hands and hoping that people respect you. You win wars and win arguments by bluffing and by being pushy. You get your way and save face by burying your enemy and not letting them do the same thing to you. Ask the empires who were destroyed through conquest such as Carthage what they think of military might and how it affected them? Ask Saddam and his regime what he thinks of the US today and how playing a defensive war worked for him? I guess you would have to call up their ghosts because today they are all dead because in the end the only way to win and become victorious so to speak is to defeat your enemies through offensense, not play patty-cake with them with some sort of defensive war.
Whether or not the constitution allows us to protect ourselves is therefore a moot point. We need to protect both our country and our people. There of course can be limits we can place on this to some extent, but what is more important in the end, whether we violate the constitution, or whether our nation is still around and whether the constitution still exists? I would rather our nation was not buried by others personally financially or militarily because frankly the idea of sitting entrenched never worked for anyone in a war and it will not work today either.
As far as limits…yes we need them to some extent. People can be told that heading into certain countries is not recommended and that our country can not protect them. Perhaps we can close some bases and perhaps getting entangled in certain wars is not a good idea. But in the end, to pack up and go home is not even a feasible option. Iran in itself talks about “Death to America” and is actively developing nuclear weapons. Sure, we can go home and be hopeful and optimistic like Ron Paul that the “Israeli’s will take care of the issue” but I think that is rather irresponsible when they hate us just as much as Israel and there is always the chance they could use the weapon on us. That is not a chance anyone should take and it’s just like playing Russian Roulette and I find it hard to believe that anyone can think that a man who wants to play Russian Roulette with American lives to that extent would make a great president because he is resting behind his morals.
Morals are good things when applied properly, but in the end if you encourage people who hate you to go after your allies and your friends and give them an out, they will take this. You are just as guilty for this action therefore when they take it. This is a rather scary scenario, and perhaps it might not happen, but one thing is clear from the evidence, unlike North Korea, Iran has on numerous occasions threatened the US directly and is pursuing nuclear weapons.
But in a sense, perhaps Obama’s solution and other’s is not the correct one either. Perhaps as Ron Paul says we should be not invading either. We should be using the resources we have to locate this bunker, and using both our air power and our special forces and just destroying their capacity to make nuclear weapons, and then leave. And if they start doing it again, take out their leaders. This might seem like a harsh option that I am here espousing, but look at the facts.
Iran’s leaders publicly chant “Death to America” and then try to develop weapons of mass destruction. I am a firm believer that allowing people to exist in this state is not only a mistake to our nation, but it allows the true enemies and terrorists who want to cause harm to our country to continue to have hope that our country is weak and is possible to be defeated. As long as they have this hope, we will continue to have an issue from the Taliban, Al Qaeda, etc. In other words, this issue will never end until we stop it once and for all. This does not mean we need to invade every country in the world, but it does mean we need to start studying history better and making better decisions. Invading countries like Iraq is just a waste of time and resources when we should have spent time in Afghanistan and rooted out the issues in that country from the start.
Ron Paul’s issues with Iran not standing, his issues with a moral foundation with the constitution have much more than that to contend with. The second you take a moral high ground and don’t look at pragmatic interpretations and how reality dictates you should do something means you are not looking at making good or bad decisions, but rather what you think is right or wrong based on some moral criteria. As religious wars and as our current wars with religious extremists shows, religious texts and moral supremacy goes hand in hand with misinterpretation that goes into pure evil. This might start with the best intentions, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is why the phrase is so important to remember and why we must all be diligent in remembering that being moral is not always as important as being pragmatic. Reality is often times a shade of gray and the right decision might not be what you think is right morally, but it might be the best decision for good.
I normally don’t comment on the politics of other countries as I don’t have “skin in the game”. But I did write an article on Ron Paul last October, on the basis that the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election has direct implications for Australia.
As I said then, he has no chance whatsoever of being elected, short of financial apocalypse occurring this year instead of 2015 or so. But to take the issue you were zeroing in on (Iran), I think Paul is confident that Israel will make sure Iran never gets its hands on a nuclear weapon; America doesn’t have to lift a finger.
BEN: Just a quick note on that, I don’t think its responsible for us to make it Israel’s responsibility to take care of the issue. I mean, after all Iran could just as easilly just come after the US instead of Israel…but as things are progressing now, its probably a mute point anyway.