Paul Takes Heat for No Vote on Iranian Resolution

The House of Representatives voted to condemn the Iranian government and its recent actions in the country with a 405-1 vote. The sole no vote came from Congressman Ron Paul, and already he is getting flack for his position, as critics argue that, as a proponent of liberty, he should have supported this resolution.

On the website Libertarian Republican, a guest columnist writes:

Well once again Congressman Ron Paul shows how much he just loves liberty, he just voted against a house resolution that would declare official support for anti-government protests in Iran!

*takes in air* Ahhhh yes, LIBERTY! Don’t you just love it? Now, to be more serious, how come every non-interventionist paleolibertarian like Paul is always willing to say and write things for freedom (well except this time of course), but they are so resistant to doing something for freedom?

First off, I would agree that we need to express our support of the anti-government protests in Iran, but I am one of those that stands by Ron Paul for his no vote. Ron Paul didn’t vote no because he doesn’t support freedom for the Iranian people. On the contrary,  he voted no to express his disapproval of Congress voting on resolutions with no real legal weight, interfering with the internal affairs of another sovereign nation — and doing so with limited information on the real situation, being hypocritical in its haphazard condemnation of only those regimes it finds inconvenient.

Here is his statement:

I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about “condemning” the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives. I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little. And we know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran.

Of course I do not support attempts by foreign governments to suppress the democratic aspirations of their people, but when is the last time we condemned Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the many other countries where unlike in Iran there is no opportunity to exercise any substantial vote on political leadership? It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made. I have admired President Obama’s cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.

I adhere to the foreign policy of our Founders, who advised that we not interfere in the internal affairs of countries overseas. I believe that is the best policy for the United States, for our national security and for our prosperity. I urge my colleagues to reject this and all similar meddling resolutions.

Congress bothers with this type of time-waster all the time — I remember when they passed a resolution congratulating Ichiro Suzuki on the most hits in a season. These measures have no legal effect, and distract the legislature from issues that truly matter.

American citizens would perhaps do well to make very public and obvious their support for the Iranian protesters, especially if they are in positions of power (as congressmen are) where their voices will be heard.  However, passing a resolution to that effect is none of the House’s business.

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