Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Catholics for Ron Paul ... a flicker of hope in the dismal American Political Landscape.

Recently my interest was piqued by a group I encountered who have found what appears to be a presidential candidate faithful Catholics can vote for with enthusiasm. "Catholics for Ron Paul." are enthusiastically endorsing this straight-talking bundle of integrity, Dr. Congressman Ron Paul, as someone to take note of for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is he might give the Grand Old State of Texas reason to hold its head high again):

* He has an uncompromisingly pro-life record, having himself delivered more than 4000 children in his obstetric career, many of them for little or no pay (he won't take Medicaid). That alone is reason to make a hefty donation to his campaign, which you may do by clicking here.

* He is best known in Washington for his reluctance to spend a dime of taxpayer's money on anything not expressly provided for in the U.S. Constitution (he has refused both the "cadillac" medical plan to which those on Capital Hill are entitled and the standard, unbelievably generous retirement package to which he is also entitled on the grounds that a public servant should not live better than his constituents). As you might imagine, this has not made him exceedingly popular among career politicians ... but to those of us who have watched with growing dismay as the current administration continues to spend money we don't have, to fight for "democracy" in countries that do not appear to be wildly excited about the idea while our own people are struggling to stay afloat, this guy is a breath of fresh air.

* He is a staunch advocate of subsidiarity, a principle of Catholic social justice that indicates that problems are best handled by those closest to it who have been given the power to exact necessary change. For example, this post at CRP discusses how the press has twisted Paul's stand on prostitution, which is that it should be removed from Federal control and handed back to individual states. (This is similar to what would happen to the "right to abortion" in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned.)

* Barring a miracle (one we would all do well to work together for), the truth is that right now Congressman Paul has a hard battle ahead of him to make it anywhere near the White House (he ran on the Libertarian ticket once before and garnered less than a half a million votes). However, he is absolutely a candidate we could (and perhaps should) vote for with a clear conscience. Paul's book A Foreign Policy of Freedom is a startlingly insightful and timely read for anyone wondering how the heck we are ever going to extricate ourselves from the Middle-Eastern Mess. I'd like to offer a few examples here for your general edification:

"The responsibility of the administration and Congress is to promote security for our nation and to seek peace and harmony with all nations. Pursuing a policy of free trade with all and not giving aid to allies or potential adversaries would do more to enhance peace and properity than any attempt to guarantee borders in the Middle East or anywhere else" (1983, p. 22-23)

"Thousands of men and women have come and gone here ... except for the few, most go unnoticed and remain nameless in the pages of history, as I'm sure I will be. The few who are remembered are those who were able to grab the reins of power and, for the most part, use that power to the detriment of the nation. We must remember achieving power is never the goal sought by a truly free society. Dissipation of power is the objective of those who love liberty" (p.40).

"We pay for bridges and harbors throughout the world and neglect our own. If we feel compulsion to spend and waste money, it would make more sense at least to waste it at home. We build highways around the world, raise gasoline taxes here, and routinely dodge potholes on our own highways. Why do we cut funding for day care centers and Head Start programs before cutting aid to the Communists, Socialists, and international bankers?" (p.47).

"The idea that support for the troops once they are engaged means we must continue the operation, no matter how ill-advised, and perpetuate a conflict that makes no sense is what President Clinton is depending on..." (1997, regarding Bosnian conflict, p.61).

"We urge the Catholics and Protestants to talk to each other; we urge the Israelis and Palestinians to talk to each other. Even at the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had missiles pointed at us from 90 miles away in Cuba, we solved the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy. Why is it, in this post-Cold War era, that the United States seems to turn first to the military to solve its foreign policy problems? Is diplomacy dead?" (2001, in opposition to the U.S. House Resolution on Iraq, p.183).

"Excessive meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and involving ourselves in every conflict around the globe has not endeared the U.S. to the oppressed of the world. ... To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we're rich and free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetuated on the American people" (2003, p.244-45)


seasoldier said...

Ron Paul may have a good pro-life record regarding abortion and other dignity of life issues, and that should be counted in his favor. However, his foreign policy pronouncements completely ignor the fact that we are currently engaged in a global war against very bad people who have demonstrated their willingness to cut off each of our heads, if given a chance. These people are not motivated by reasonable political arguments, but by ancient fanatical grievances and medieval superstitions. Their cause grows in the dark underbelly of nations long steeped in ignorance, poverty and oppression. Our weapons against them must be freedom and education, but, in the meantime, we must defend ourselves aggressively against their murderous actions and intentions. Dr. Paul's proposals mirror those of the Isolationists who delayed and damaged our ability to respond to the fascist threats that spread death and destruction prior to and during World War II. Following his blind policies would lead to many more deaths, and, ulitmately, that's not a pro-life positiion, nor is it a just postion. Under the doctrine of subsidiarity, the state has an obligation to protect it's people. In our representative republic, each citizen has an obligation to participate in the nation's defense. Our best defense against the current global threat is prompt, effective, pre-emptive action and the support and defense of the spread of democracy throughout the world.

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Ron Paul is the poster boy for state subsidiarity. However, when it comes to our foreign policy I couldn't disagree with your assessment more -- particularly after reading Dr. Paul's book on foreign policy, which I highly recommend.

Our present difficulty has nothing to do with "isolationism." Quite the opposite, in fact. We rushed in blindly and foolishly, led by a president with dubious intentions and a Congress who categorically failed to rein in his personal agenda, and now our youth are paying for it. (Apart from a political black eye, what else has this disaster cost Bush personally? Send his two daughters to the front lines, and see how fast the man pulls out of Iraq).

My seventeen-year-old nephew is getting ready to leave for his first tour of duty in March. I love him and will do everything in my power to support him. But his sacrifice is apallingly disproportionate to the cause.