"WHEN WE SACRIFICE LIBERTY FOR SECURITY, WE LOSE BOTH": Ron Paul is a slam dunk
In the republican debate yesterday, Ron Paul was nothing less than brilliant. In my opinion, there is absolutely nobody in this country, republican or democrat, who can deliver such cogent and absolutely on-the-mark arguments for national security and against the war in Iraq, arguments which are also informed by a mature understanding of US history, that I find absolutely wanting in every other politician. When Paul was challenged by the weasly and cowardly Chris Wallace who wanted to score cheap points, his reply was thundering, almost prophetic-sounding. And just hear his simple argument about how it is the responsibility of airlines to protect their passengers and prevent 9/11 type attacks, and how delegating it to them rather than the government and allowing their officials to possess guns could have possibly prevented 9/11. Just watch him.
Unfortunately, people in this country are still swayed by rhetoric, and abstract feel-good notions such as "honor" and "freedom", both of which ironically they are rapidly losing. I think that Iraq unfortunately is becoming a big emotional prestige point for parents who have lost their sons and daughters in the failed conflict; they will just not accept that their children died in vain (and that too due to no fault of theirs) and more alarmingly, now keep thinking that the only way their children's sacrifices can be justified is if the US stays in Iraq. They are also misled into thinking, as one bereaved mother was, that the US is actually going to become more safe if they continue fighting there. This is a notion that seriously needs to be dispelled because it is a path straight towards devastation.
Ron Paul is probably the only person who understands this thoroughly and has the guts to say it aloud in public. Given his very clear libertarian stance, I can almost bet that he is also pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage, both of which are fundamentally issues about individual freedom and rights. But given the currents of irrational thought and puritanical nonsense widespread in the nation, it is not surprising that he does not say it publicly. It is the unfortunate destiny of this country that he will almost certainly not be nominated as the republican candidate.
Addendum: As much as I immensely admire Paul's stand on the war, I find his opposition to abortion and gay marriage bizarre and disconcerting (notwithstanding the fact that he may be taking these stances only for pleasing his republican electorate), and I also find him in danger of running afoul of his libertarian principles in these matters. For example, he says that the libertarian approach towards banning abortion is sensible because you are respecting the right of the foetus. Even if we buy this argument (which is tenuous at most for a month old foetus), what about the right of the mother to choose? What does the libertarian ethic say about that? I also don't agree with his absolutist sounding positions on gun control (quite apart from letting airline officials carrying them). As for stem cell research, he cleverly skirts the discussion towards taxpayer dollars. The point is, and I have said this before, I don't agree with a libertarian approach to anything and everything, but in some matters, it hits the nail on the head.
The real problem of course is that there is not a single candidate, Republican or Democrat, who I find ideal to be President. I wish we had technology that could pick the good qualities from each candidate and create a chimerical president.