Ron Paul is NOT a Conservative

Ron Paul may have warned in 2008 of the coming big government Trojan Horse, but his claim to the conservative mantle is just as hollow.

Rather than focus on spending or debt, Paul supporters stake their claim to true conservatism on a dogmatic opposition not only to war, but to the entirety of modern statecraft in the realm of international affairs, from intelligence gathering to diplomacy. They want to bamboozle young people into thinking this is somehow conservative, and they’ve made a point of trying to namedrop every conservative giant to make their point, including Russell KirkBarry GoldwaterWilliam F. Buckley and even Ronald Reagan.

Nearly every single one of these men would have been horrified, or at least skeptical, of Paul’s ideas. But even Ron Paul’s most significant intellectual influence wouldn’t have liked being lumped in with them either. I refer to Murray Rothbard – an influence so important in Paul’s intellectual maturation that Paul wrote the following in his obituary for him:

“Murray was a world-class Austrian economist, and he influenced thousands of students. I was one of them, for he taught me about economics and liberty, and encouraged my political work against war, inflation and big government.”

Paul went further, calling Rothbard “the founder of modern libertarianism and an economist, historian, and political philosopher of extravagant accomplishments.”

I mention this connection, because it shows just how absurd the idea of Ron Paul as the only “true conservative” in the race actually is. No self-respecting disciple of Murray Rothbard should want such a label attached to them – Rothbard disdained conservatives, including and especially Bill Buckley and Russell Kirk, as being disciples of “Torquemada and Burke and Metternich.”

Paul supporters attempt to claim – in willful defiance of history – both Kirk and Buckley would be supporters, using a selective quotation of their sentiments on foreign intervention.

Yet both Kirk and Buckley were firm Cold Warriors, and to the extent they criticized American interventionism, they did it largely on prudential grounds, not because of a principled opposition to the idea.

For instance, Kirk opposed the idea of an American Empire because he was worried it would fall, and Buckley came out against the Iraq war because he thought it had been too mismanaged to be salvageable. Even while admitting sympathy with Paul’s aims, Buckley still rejected his rigid, all-or-nothing stances when he went toe-to-toe with Paul in a devastating interview from the 1980s.

The claim to Reagan and Goldwater is even sillier. Given that Paul unceremoniously quit the GOP in a petulant letter sounding eerily similar to Murray Rothbard’s scathingly anti-Reagan opinions, it’s safe to say Reagan likely would have quit a Republican Party headed by Ron Paul. As for Goldwater, it’s hard to believe the Arizona Senator would support a man whose campaign increasingly sounds like an endless loop of the “Daisy” ad, with his opponents as the target.

Moreover, the title of Goldwater’s book on the Cold War was “Why Not Victory,” whereas Ron Paul’s attitude toward nearly every foreign conflict is “Why Not Quit?” Only, Ron Paul isn’t interested in a serious answer to that question. Paul claims, with some justice, that wars cost too much and that some of the conflicts we’ve entered into recently have been gratuitous.

He may be correct on the last point, but to suggest that these ideas should lead one to a Paulite foreign policy is like suggesting one should join the Church of Scientology because of a belief that psychiatry has gotten too prescription-happy.

A reasonable disagreement over war is a far cry from a utopian fantasy that dismisses the entire enterprise as worthless. Conflict is inevitable, and the cost of war is a prudential judgment involving not simply dollars and cents, but human costs, including morale, international prestige and the danger of errant loss of life.

Yet Ron Paul’s vacuum-sealed realm of theory allows no room for prudence, because its airtightness would suffocate any breathing human being. It is time conservative young people came up for air.

Comments

Comments

  1. Kendall Sontag says:

    “Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense,” said Reagan in a Ron Paul campaign ad. “As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.”

    “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” – Ronald Reagan

    How exactly is conservatism for war and policing the world? The Republican Party used to be the party of peace. That’s how Richard Nixon won in 1968. And saying that Ron Paul’s attitude toward war is “Why not quit?” is extremely disingenuous. He has explained many times that wars should be voted on by Congress and not done unilaterally by the President or the UN/NATO. He voted FOR the war in Afghanistan but realizes that there is no end game in either Afghanistan or Iraq, just like Vietnam, and that we should be getting involved in foreign civil wars or you end up with the Muslim Brotherhood.

  2. Mindy Maucelli says:

    Ron Paul is CONSERVATIVE, it’s apparent that you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. SHAME ON YOU!
    Ron Paul has MORE Supporters than any other candidate.
    If it weren’t for all the fraud happening, and being documented all over the United States, I might have had to wonder if these people were really seeing this happen (only going by what they’re saying) but it is DOCUMENTED PROOF as to what is happening.
    The more people that see what is happening, the more the other candidates are discredited.
    Ron Paul is the choice of America, and this time IT’S DOCUMENTED what is happening.
    He didn’t have the support in 2008 that he has for 2012, and his support is undisputed. No other candidate can fill an auditorium, and no other candidate has had to move the venue due to not having enough space. There is ONLY ONE, and he is RON PAUL.. Dispute that!
    RON PAUL 2012! The revolution is just beginning.. (mark my words)

  3. Paul says:

    ” Buckley still rejected his rigid, all-or-nothing stances when he went toe-to-toe with Paul in a devastating interview from the 1980s.”

    First of all, thanks for the link. I enjoyed watching the interview.

    Hardly devastating. And Buckley calls himself a libertarian and identifies with the ideas of the movement. But as with all Buckley interviews, he puts Ron Paul through the ringer, but Ron Paul holds up pretty well.

    But let’s list Candidates who hold conservative postilions:

    Reduce Spending: Ron Paul. …. Anyone else? Anyone?

    Reduce Government meddling with the market: Ron Paul ….. Still lonely here.

    Cut the Federal Government’s Size and Scope: Ron Paul …. Nobody else since “opps” left the race.

    Strong and Strict Monetary Policy: Ron Paul …. and Gingrich

    Leave Afghanistan: Ron Paul … and now Santorum and Gingrich after a few months of rolling eyes.

    And this idea that we need an American Empire supported by our Military Overseas when China is taking over the world through commerce…. We need to wake up, and wake up now! Defense means Defense. We need to get out of the Offence game. It took down Russia, I don’t know why we think it can’t take us down too.

  4. No one is buying in to the socialistic non-sense you try to foist upon us as “conservatism”. Truth be told those that call themselves conservatives in America today are really supporters of big government, supporters of the welfare state and supporters of a foreign policy that every one of our founding fathers spoke against.

    Reagan, conservative? He supported amnesty for illegal aliens and gun control. George Bush would be a laughable claim. Rick Santorum, well lets see with him we have reckless spending, a person that wants to impose christian sharia on everyone else and who openly expresses a disdain for the U.S. Constitution. Gingrich, again laughable when one looks at all the government programs he has proposed and all the politicking he has done.

    Where are these conservatives? Are these the people that talk bout free markets while supporting a centrally planned and managed economy through the Federal Reserve? Are these the people that continue to ignore the constitution while handing out corporate and individual welfare?

    Your entire argument seems to focus on the establishment of an empire or in simple terms of taking over the world as being conservative. How does that square with what the founding fathers spoke of as proper and free government? You also seem to miss Ron Paul’s point that any war should be constitutionally declared. But it seems “conservatives” consider that part of the U.S. Constitution to be outdated. Sort of like the liberals see the second amendment.

    Interventionism is a failure. It failed when we armed Osama Bin Laden and trained him in Afghanistan. That action directly led to 911. It failed in Iraq. It failed, in Libya when we put Al Qaeda in charge of the country. It has failed pretty much everywhere it has been tried resulting in death and loss of liberty to American citizens. Sandanistas still control Nicaragua by the way.

    When you look at the facts and are educated enough to decipher them, Ron Paul is the ONLY conservative in the race.

  5. Lisa says:

    You have to ask yourself the question, Why did the GOP put up such a joke of a lineup except for Ron Paul? And why are they totally ignoring him and trying to discredit and minimize his existence. The answer is clear. The GOP does not want to win. They want BO to do so. they know if they let the People were allowed to hear his views properly with the advantages the others get from MSM that we would choose Ron Paul. That can be they only reason. Vote your conscience.

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