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Sunday, January 06, 2008


Stan Goff says "vote Ron Paul"; I say "no"

Stan Goff, a respected voice on the left, has written a piece entitled "Monkeywrenching the system: Ron Paul's revolution" in which he advocates voting for Ron Paul in the primaries. He claims this is because he has become a "single-issue voter," the single issue being who will stop the war, and that only Ron Paul will do so. He then launches into all the wonderful things that a President Paul would do - end the war, close Guantanamo, stop corporate subsidies, and so on.

Of course the problem with this analysis is that Ron Paul is not going to win the Republican nomination, much less the Presidential election, so speculating on what he might do were he to be elected is pointless. Instead, let's look at something which Goff himself asks us to look at:

Don't ask yourself "what are the ideas?" If your toilet backs up, you can come up with a thousand ideas while shit-water cascades onto the floor. The question is not about ideas; it is, "What will be the net effect?"
OK, so what will be the "net effect" of voting for Ron Paul? Goff seems to think it will be an endorsement for an antiwar position, but I disagree. Look at the Democrats. Until very recently, when John Edwards suddenly started talking about a rapid pullout, the clear "antiwar" candidate was Kucinich, and he gets a a couple percent of the vote, at most. Democrats, and Republicans as well, always vote with "electability" in mind, and even antiwar Republicans, at least "regular" Republicans, aren't voting for Paul. No, what moves Paul well in advance of Kucinich is libertarianism - "real" Libertarians with a capital "L" (remember, Paul has been their standard-bearer before), or libertarian (small "l") Republicans who, just like many of the left, prefer influencing one of the major parties to investing effort into a third party.

So what will increasing Ron Paul's vote do? It will energize libertarianism. Libertarianism, whose every person for themself, rapacious capitalism is "freedom" philosophy is the very opposite of what those on the left advocate. Laws protecting the right to form unions, or any other legislation protecting workers, are weak enough, but libertarianism would do away with all of them - after all, they interfere with the "freedom" of the workers and the bosses to "negotiate" contracts. Go re-watch "The Grapes of Wrath" for a reminder of that world.

Health care? Unemployment insurance? Forget about it. You're on your own, kid. Homelessness? Beg for charity. If it's not forthcoming, well, that's the "freedom" of those who choose to give...or not.

There has been talk of Paul being a racist based on some old articles, but that's hardly the issue. The issue with Paul and race is the present, and what his libertarian philosophy advocates. Opposition to affirmative action? That's the least of it - libertarians are opposed to all government regulation, which certainly includes any kind of anti-discrimination laws, be they on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, or anything else. Want to see your electricity rates, water bills, and everything else skyrocket? Just vote for the Ron Paul "revolution" to get rid of those pesky government regulations which put at least a minor check on the rapaciousness of corporations. Worried about the environment? According to Paul, "The key to sound environmental policy is respect for private property rights." And if there are problems? "In a free market, no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor's land, air, or water. If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter." Yeah, just you and your lawyer (if you can afford one) against Exxon-Mobil. Good luck. And if the corporation isn't "polluting" your land, air, and water, but just using it up? Hey, tough, it's their property, they can do whatever they want with it.

And what about the major issue, opposition to war? Paul is opposed to the U.S. government intervening elsewhere, but he certainly isn't opposed to U.S. corporations doing their best to rape the world. The Ron Paul-led U.S. government doesn't want to invade, say, Somalia to help out Exxon-Mobil? No problem, Exxon-Mobil will be free to hire a much expanded Blackwater private army to do precisely the same thing.

Vote for Ron Paul? Instead of "monkeywrenching the system," you'll be setting back the cause of the left on virtually every front. Sound like a good idea? Not to me.

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