Ron Paul, especially in comparison to his fellow Republicans, does seem a likeable fellow. His position on ending our nation’s wars and interventions is on target. However, it is ridiculous that some otherwise positive, well-meaning folks have become so infatuated with Paul that they call him “progressive.” It brings to mind an old saying about freedom that goes: “Freedom means different things to different folks. Freedom for the fox means freedom to eat the hen, but freedom for the hen means freedom from the fox!”
Look a bit closer at just whose liberty and freedom Paul is most interested in protecting. In this time of increased rights for corporations and fetuses, and decreased ones for regular working folks, freedom does not have a neutral meaning.
Massive struggles have developed here in Ohio and across the nation, as obscenely rich corporate interests launched attacks on working people’s collective bargaining rights, Social Security and Medicare, women’s health care, pensions, gay people’s rights, and other areas. Where has the “progressive” Ron Paul come down on these important struggles? Consistently he comes down on the side of corporations and their “rights,” and solidly against the rights of embattled ordinary working people.
In Ohio, millions had to mobilize to beat back the attack by Gov. John Kasich and the GOP seeking to bust public employee unions with Senate Bill 5. In Wisconsin, Indiana, and elsewhere anti-union “right to work” (for less) bills are being pushed though. Paul issued a statement “cheering passage” of the Indiana law. Even worse, he calls for a national Right to Work Law and has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Work Committee!
Paul has no concern that in states with right to work laws, workers make $5,333 less. Paul stands against workers’ rights and unions in every form and stands up for the “right” of corporations to rule “freely” over “their” workforce.
Paul has sponsored legislation (HR 2030) to cut Social Security benefits, privatize and destroy it. His concern certainly couldn’t be with our nation’s seniors. Social Security is our nation’s most successful program, pulling aging Americans out of poverty. Last May on Fox News he stated, “Social Security and Medicare are both unconstitutional” He compared these important life-saving programs to “slavery.”
Not only does he support the current ultra-right drive for fetal “personhood,” he sponsored HR 2597 (Sanctity of Life Act of 2007), which would have made that the law of the land. He is for ending occupational safety and health laws, child labor laws, minimum wage laws and unemployment compensation. While touting “liberty.” Paul was an original sponsor of the divisive Marriage Protection Act of 2004, which attacked rights of gay Americans.
Some argue that Paul is really a “true conservative,” sincere and consistent in his views, and for this he should he praised and supported.
Think about this: Paul has stood up strongly against the rights of African Americans and other minorities. He put into the Congressional Record in 2004 a statement that the “Civil Rights Act increased racial tensions and decreased individual liberty.” That was the same year he was the ONLY vote against a congressional resolution supporting the Civil Rights Act on its 40th anniversary. Last year he told “Meet the Press” he “would have voted against the Civil Rights Act,” but went on to clarify that it was “because of the property rights element.”
He sponsored legislation (HR 3863) to exempt religious schools from anti-discrimination laws, and HR 5909, which would specifically end civil rights enforcement in our nation. See a pattern here? Paul really does carry this “true conservative” stuff to its logical conclusion.
In 2007, on “Meet the Press,” Paul said, “Lincoln was wrong to go to war,” going on to say that the government should have “bought all the slaves and set them free.” Paul belongs to the Mines Institute, a pro-Confederate organization. Beyond the basic historic fact that Lincoln did not “go to war” and it was the Confederates who fired on Fort Sumter, Paul seems willing to bend the rules on bailouts, if only for slaveholders!
On every question Ron Paul has been consistent, standing up for the rights of corporations and the wealthy to be free from government regulations. It is these very regulations that are the people’s rights, won through difficult, bloody struggles to be free from corporate rule.
Paul and other immensely wealthy conservatives, like the billionaire Koch Brothers, have been very successful at selling the idea that the government is always wrong, that if we just get the government out of the way, everything will be great.
But it was only thorough government action, brought about by ordinary people fighting for their rights that we have been able to wrench gains from the corporations. Only people exercising democratic control of their own government have been able to guarantee people’s right to vote, civil rights, the right to organize free from company intimidation, rights of people to live where they choose, Social Security, Medicare and so much more. This is what we call democracy. Corporations don’t practice that.
Paul has been good at fighting for corporate rights. Our fight is for the people. That’s the one that’s progressive!