Why progressives should not support Ron Paul


Ron Paul, the Republican congressman from Texas, has become a living legend for many due to his outspoken libertarian views. Perhaps many of his followers are attracted by his vocal drug-legalization views. Either way, he has attracted a multi-generational following that occasionally borders on cult-like status. They have been coined the "apostles of Ron Paul" by Mother Jones magazine.

Some of Paul's views have drawn the support of progressives who might otherwise be diametrically opposed to his Republican status. For example, he has steadfastly been against our massive deployments in the Middle East, as well as opposes the encroachments on our civil liberties found in the Patriot Act. However he holds several core policy positions, ranging from opposition to social programs to ignoring climate change, that should send progressives running.

Paul holds to the right-wing view that America is a Christian, rather than secular, nation. He steadfastly opposes the concept of the separation of church and state which has historically been viewed as being enshrined in the First Amendment's "establishment clause." Instead, he claimed in a 2003 article that "the notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers." He argued that, "the Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian" nation.

Paul's supporters have tried to promote the notion that his positions are pro-LGBT in his own, libertarian way. However, his libertarian dogma, which his supporters claim treats lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in a "live and let live" fashion, does not advance LGBT rights in any way. While he opposed the draconian federal amendment banning marriage equality, he stated that he would have voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and he is not against individual states practicing discrimination against their gay and lesbian residents.

Paul opposed the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas which banned prohibitions on sodomy, whose real targets are any gay or lesbian activity, claiming that the Constitution provides no protections for those wishing to engage in "sodomy." This seems surprising from a man who wishes to legalize heroin - hardly a practice protected by the Constitution..

Moreover, Paul opposed the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would have prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Additionally, he opposed expanding hate crimes protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

It's not just gays and lesbians that Paul seems unwilling to protect against discrimination, Paul says he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended racially motivated voter suppression and segregation in schools and businesses. He argues that it "reduced civil liberty" and violates private property rights. In 2006 he voted against renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which helps to remove barriers to minority voting, again citing property rights, and claiming that it was too costly.

If that hasn't turned off progressives, perhaps a look at his economic policies will. Paul supported a 10 percent flat income tax during his 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference speech. The big beneficiaries of that would be the richest people in our country, who would have their taxes drastically reduced. Not only would this completely defund the majority of all social and educational programs provided by the government, it would also likely increase the income disparity that has been exacerbated since the onset of "supply-side" economics. In another seemingly populist assist to the super-rich, he often proposes abolishing the Internal Revenue Service.

Not surprisingly, Paul opposes regulations on industries, even the financial industry whose greed and lack of oversight led us to the economic crisis we have been dealing with for the past two years. According to Paul and the right wing, regulations are burdens rather than consumer protections, and the much hailed "free market" will regulate itself. This ignores the fact that the financial industry had steadily been in a state of deregulation for over two decades, and look what happened.

Calling anti-trust laws "much more harmful than helpful," Paul opposes any federal regulations against corporate monopolies. He also opposes the federal minimum wage, and opposes Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation ensuring women are paid equally to men.

Speaking of the free market, Paul also opposed the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that it is an "intrusion into private property rights." He again claims that the free market will punish those who discriminate.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Paul believes that the wildly popular and successful Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs are unconstitutional and should be abolished.

What else does Paul believe should be abolished? The departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor are all on his list. He also called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "bad economics" and "bad morality," claiming that the government helping communities after natural disasters is  a "moral hazard" because it says that the "government is always going to take care of us when we do dumb things."

Paul also opposes the notion that man-made climate change is a "major problem," despite the science supporting the phenomenon, and claims that the Environmental Protection Agency harms the economy.

Following along with the GOP's open season on family planning services, Paul proudly states that he, if president, would veto any funding to Planned Parenthood and what he calls "family planning schemes."

Overall, a cursory look at his record should be enough for any progressive American to be turned off to Congressman Ron Paul. While we may applaud his antiwar stance and his opposition to the "war on drugs" and the Patriot Act, it would be folly to ignore the largely regressive nature of his politics.

Photo: Ron Paul addresses the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference in February. Gage Skidmore CC 2.01

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  • Ron Paul's view on church and state.

    Ron Paul's view's on LGBT

    after reading more i give up you are to far to the left to even see just how wrong you are on Ron Paul .. so now that the US is going to hell how will you get all that social programs, and as far as climate change.


    you call this peoples world ? get out of your box .. if you look for somthing you will find it, if i was you i'd start looking for the truth .. we are in big trouble in the USA .. ever day we are loseing more and more of what use to make us the best .. this is not a gay thing this is truly a people thing if we get stuck with obamitt because the two are the same the money comes from the same place do not be a d.a

    Posted by Rick, 05/02/2012 9:00am (3 years ago)

  • I think the the bigger issue with Paul (and his little acorn Rand) is the thick veneer of whackjob that never really comes off either of them...so typical of Libertarian politicians. Many decent ideas, mixed in with daffy and sometimes racist worldview...rarely ever electable. Pity...

    Posted by Tom, 01/15/2012 11:16pm (4 years ago)

  • This is all wrong. This article is an obviously bought out slander campaign.

    Posted by Anonymous, 12/12/2011 1:57pm (4 years ago)

  • What progressives need to determine is what is really important when it comes to the federal govt.

    The right of women to make reproductive choices is already protected by supreme court decisions which, in the case of birth control technologies, including abortion up through the first trimester, will not be changed no matter who is president and who controls congress.

    Dr. Paul is an opponent of abortion because of his personal experiences; not all libertarians agree with him on this issue, but since he believes that the fed govt should not be involved (in promoting or prohibiting) it hardly matters if he is president... on this issue.

    When it comes to federal power the important issues are the issues of war and peace, and the crony corporatist cartels, especially the bankster's cartel, known as the "Federal Reserve."

    On these issues Dr. Paul is simply the only choice for anyone who loves peace and opposes monopoly.

    It's that simple.

    Voting for either right neocons like Newt or left neocons like Barrack is voting for the empire; voting for Dr. Paul is voting for the restoration of the republic.

    Posted by Ralph Fucetola JD, 12/05/2011 2:39pm (4 years ago)

  • Great job of ignoring the elephant in the room: foreign policy. Paul adamantly opposes illegal, aggressive, and preventative wars, instead embracing a diplomatically and economically pragmatic policy of non-interventionism, not isolationism, non-interventionism. This is THE number one reason I and a number of my friends and colleagues support the man. It is also the number one reason that a neo-con run, under the guise of moral crusading Tea Party hawks, GOP will never allow a Ron Paul to win the nomination. You completely missed the point.

    Posted by Milo Minderbinder, 08/17/2011 2:16pm (4 years ago)

  • Your article is aptly titled, "Why Progressives Should Not Support Ron Paul." It is apparent that you believe that people's rights come from the groups, races, ethnicities etc. that these individuals belong to, as opposed to rights stemming from their very individuality itself. By the claims you make and the positions we can deduce that you espouse, it is a person's color, disability, identity as LGBT or any other number of factors that should determine the rights and protections they are afforded. Why? Does this mean that as a white atheist male, I should somehow be denied a right because I am not gay, transgender, Black, Hispanic, Asian. Paul's belief in rights belonging to individuals because they are individual, and his refusal to look at groups over individuals is the anti-racist perspective. It is the anti-discrimination perspective. It also means that a person should not get 'extra' rights or protections/privileges because they belong to a particular group. His view protects the individual, regardless of association, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation...

    Regarding gay marriage, Paul has said he personally does not agree with it, but also said that it isn't the Federal government's business to determine who can and cannot marry. It would be a state issue, where the people of each state could vote on whether or not their state would recognize same-sex marriages.

    As far as voting against the sodomy issue, there is no protection for sodomy in the Constitution, and as personal behavior should not be legislated (as it cannot), I would imagine his position was that the government should have no business creating, enforcing, or promoting sodomy.

    Our history shows that the concept of the Constitution centered around an individual's right to life, liberty and property, property being changed to the pursuit of happiness to prevent the southern states from claiming Constitutional authority to keep slaves. In order to protect these rights from the government, they draftd the bill of rights which, sadly, was not applied or honored when it came to blacks or women. That has since changed. So the argument in favor of property rights is sound and in line with the intent of the founders. Check out Michael Badnarik's Constitutional Class video.

    If nothing else, Progressives should support Dr. Paul if they actually want to end the wars, want a return of civil liberties and habeas corpus, an end to the senseless drug war. Why? Because he is the only one who will see these changes most Progressives desire through.

    Posted by Christopher Diamond, 07/22/2011 1:15am (4 years ago)

  • The Ron Paul supporters loves having their lips pressed so firmly against Ron Paul's buttocks! They might as well form a human centipede...

    Yeah sure legalize drugs so that our kids and teachers can teach our kids in school to be less educated and live like a 3rd world country in Somalia where there's no government. If you don't like how our government are run the US, then you might as well live in Somalia where there's no Government, there are plenty of guns, drugs, and no laws there!...

    Search on youtube: "REGULATION VACATION CELEBRATION!" (Somalia)

    If you want to legalize drugs, and not continue the war on drugs, gangs will still profit and continue selling drugs, they will sell it on the black markets for cheaper. Next Ron Paul is going to want to allow human/slave sex trafficking, I wouldn't be surprised if Ron Paul want to legalize human/slave sex trafficking too...

    check out these CNN reports.

    "From Selling Drugs to Sex Trafficking"
    Gangs have turned to sex trafficking for money in a relatively quiet California town. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports.

    "Spain's hot spot for human trafficking"

    "The Prostitution problem in Catalonia"

    "Prosecutor describes sexual exploitation in Mexico City"

    Posted by Steven, 07/14/2011 2:49am (4 years ago)

  • "We need to understand the more government spends, the more freedom is lost...Instead of simply debating spending

    levels, we ought to be debating whether the departments, agencies, and programs funded by the budget should exist at

    — Ron Paul

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”.

    Mahatma Gandhi.

    PERSONAL LIBERTY!!!! is what Ron Paul stands for!!! Individual not groups!!!
    Groups cause hatred toward other groups

    because of special treatment they get. Then the other groups hate that group. ;-)) Peace

    Posted by netnut, 07/09/2011 8:39am (4 years ago)

  • I have one major problem with your article, the heroin/sodomy issue. Paul is opposed to banning either of them.

    The thing is that he believes that it is illegal for the federal government to interfere with either. There is no contradiction according to his views. He is also against state governments intervening in those issues, but does not believe that the federal government has the power to legally stop them. He isn't looking for the federal government to protect someones right to do heroin, just not to hinder it. He would leave that up to state governments.

    The only other thing I don't agree with is actually the anti trust position. I used to think that opposing anti-trust laws was insane, but then I did some research. In 95% of cases, the so called monopoly is getting sued by another company in the same industry. Almost all actual monopolies are created by some politician getting bought off to rig the system.

    In actuality, big business tends to favor anti-trust laws because it helps them create cartels by destroying incentives to lower prices and gain a larger part of the market share. It's really one of those strange regulations that actually favors big business.

    Posted by The Man with no name, 07/07/2011 5:36pm (4 years ago)

  • Hi!

    "This seems surprising from a man who wishes to legalize heroin - hardly a practice protected by the Constitution."

    If heroin isn't protected by the constitution, then why did it take an constitutional amendment to make alcohol illegal?

    I love progressives, heck, I'm progressive too. But you have to look beyond what you were taught about the constitution and read the thing for yourself.

    Posted by pegr, 07/06/2011 8:46pm (4 years ago)

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