Calvin Freiburger, a columnist over at David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog, recently published a piece organizing several specious and empty charges against Ron Paul into a list of “The Top 8 Reasons Ron Paul Is an Abomination Who Should A Be Cast Out of Decent Society.”
(Quick note to Calvin: Dude — publishing lists on multiple pages is the most annoying publishing habit on the Internet ever.)
Notice to begin with, the totally disproportionate hyperbole of the title. While the author in his list accuses Ron Paul supporters of suffering from various derangements (e.g. against President Lincoln, or against the Jews) it is invective like that in his title which exemplifies the derangement that Horowitz types have for Ron Paul.
Ron Paul’s disagreements with them over foreign policy and history make him an “abomination” worthy only to be ostracized and exiled, despite his 20 year record as the taxpayer’s best friend in Washington, an outspoken advocate for the Second Amendment, and a tireless sponsor of aggressive pro-life legislation.
Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes, to pass an unbalanced budget, or to raise congressional pay — and he’s never taken a government-paid junket. Despite his model conservatism on all these issues, the man is an “abomination” for daring to suggest that the same feckless Washington establishment which breeds more poverty with its misguided War on Poverty might just breed more terrorism with its War on Terrorism.
While they are ever-willing to compromise on some (or all) of their alleged conservative principles to support and defend men like George W. Bush and John McCain, neoconservatives will apparently never compromise in the other direction and support or defend someone like Congressman Paul, or even be willing to tolerate his existence in their version of a “decent society.” Talk about derangement.
Before briefly addressing each of the eight reasons the Horowitz groupie gives for Ron Paul’s banishment from “decent society” (as if there were anything decent about the perverse Washington establishment and its runaway military-industrial complex), allow me to point out that most of them involve the author’s historical disagreements with Paul, not Ron Paul’s policies or exemplary voting record as a congressman.
Venture into the realm of public policy and the specific nuts-and-bolts solutions we need to implement if we are to survive as a great and prosperous nation, and you should only find yourself ashamed as a self-identified conservative to oppose a “Ron Paul agenda” in Washington. None of the neoconservatives’ darlings, on the other hand, have lifted a finger to seriously limit the size, role, and influence of Washington — not even in the domestic policy arena.
The NewsRealBlog columnist naïvely asserts in his introduction that this is a good time to refute Paul’s errors in history and foreign policy because “Paul’s talk of the Constitution lines up pretty well with the rest of the Right” on domestic policy “where the electoral action [currently] is” found. Perhaps the rest of the Right’s talk lines up pretty well with Paul and the Founding Fathers on domestic policy, but their actions never do.
That’s why so many Republicans in Congress voted for the TARP bailouts; and that’s why the Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins, and Newt Gingriches of the mainstream “conservative” Right defended those bailouts before shamelessly attempting to co-opt the Tea Party movement, which arose primarily as a backlash to the bailouts and other big-government policies that “the rest of the Right” has supported for decades.
While the Horowitz blogger detests accusations by Ron Paul supporters that his wing of the party hates limited government, it’s curiously suspicious that the neoconservatives so brazenly praise, defend, and compromise with politicians and pundits who always support policies which grow government, while singling out and excoriating a Congressman from Texas, who happens to be one of the very few Republicans in Washington who is not responsible for the suicidal Federal budget deficit and always-growing domestic welfare state.
So what is Calvin Freiburger’s beef with Ron Paul?
#8. He argues that Ron Paul is a “Founding Faker” who “doesn’t faithfully apply the Founders’ words,” but hijacks them to his own ends when it comes to foreign policy. He says that the wisdom and justice of going to war in the Middle East are not directly deducible from the Founding Father’s writings, but that they are a matter of the contemporary evidence from the region.
Calvin ignores the fact that Ron Paul doesn’t at all treat the issue as directly deducible from the Founding Fathers a priori. The truth is that Ron Paul makes a formidable and detailed case for a better foreign policy in the Middle East on the basis of contemporary evidence from the region, often including facts and reports from Washington’s own defense establishment to support his assertions.
If Calvin would like to have a separate discussion and actually address the contemporary evidence for or against going to war in the Middle East, I would be happy to debate him.
#7. He accuses Ron Paul and his supporters of suffering from “Lincoln Derangement Syndrome.” As amply demonstrated above, it is quite clearly the neocons who suffer from derangement, but okay — I’ll bite. The undeniable historical truth is that Abraham Lincoln did expand and permanently enshrine Federal power in an unprecedented way. Before his administration, the Federal government was properly understood as subordinate to the states. After Lincoln, the unhistorical, unconstitutional, and un-American opposite of this arrangement has been the paradigm in American government.
Calvin also criticizes Ron Paul’s proposition that Washington could have bought the South’s slaves for a fraction of the cost of fighting the Civil War and avoided all the bloodshed to boot. In support of his criticism, he links to a Gateway Pundit article that quibbles over Ron Paul’s math, asserting that buying the slaves would have cost just over 1/3rd the price of the Civil War, not Ron Paul’s much lower estimate of 1/100th.
The author laughably concludes that this was “not an option economically at the time” — while defending the option that, by his own math, cost nearly three times as much and resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the untold disruption of economic life and destruction of businesses and property. I guess even in the 19th century, neoconservatives just love to do it the hard, expensive, and bloody way.
#6. Calvin criticizes Ron Paul’s insertion of earmarks into Federal spending bills. To begin with, Ron Paul never votes for any of the appropriations he puts the earmarks into. Our Horowitz fan calls that a rationalization, but boy — wouldn’t it be grand if every Republican was like Ron Paul and always earmarked spending for their district, but then always voted against the bill? We could balance the budget in no time that way…but I guess Calvin would rather support Republicans who lard up bills and then vote for them — so long as those Republicans think Lincoln was awesome!
Ron Paul actually makes a pretty good argument about earmarking: If the bill is going to pass anyway, at least he can decide exactly how the money in it will be spent as an elected representative of the people by putting in earmarks. He says that ideally, every spending bill should be carefully earmarked, for otherwise the decision for how to spend the money ends up in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat. But again — Paul would rather just not spend any of the money at all and let you keep more of your paycheck. And that’s how he votes.
I challenge Calvin to name one politician in Washington with a better record on fiscal policy than Ron Paul. Name me just one.
#5. – #4. The Horowitz man accuses Ron Paul of being a “leftist” instead of a libertarian and attacks him for his “radical associations” with people like *gasp* former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. He also has to get in the fact that white supremacists have donated money to and endorsed Ron Paul. But that does not make Paul himself a white supremacist nor sympathetic in any way to racist policies.
I’m sure quite a few white supremacists agreed with Horowitz’s outspoken criticism of slave reparations — that doesn’t make Horowitz a white supremacist or a racist. It’s really aggravating to see a blogger use the kind of shameless, illogical leftist smears that I’m sure he would have opposed when his man Horowitz was on the receiving end.
And speaking of Horowitz hypocrisy, I’d be more than a little hesitant to blog on David Horowitz‘s website in criticism of conservatives with radical associations and leftist tendencies, considering that Horowitz was a radical communist for the first fifty years of his life — making his transition into neoconservatism quite natural, I’m sure, as he was already comfortable with the central-planning, police statism, and mass murder wrought by communism…so why not that wrought by neoconservatism?
#3. The columnist complains that Ron Paul is “Israel’s worst nightmare.” Calvin, this is America. Our government is here to protect the freedoms of Americans, not those of any other country in the world. You write that you “suspect” that George Washington “might have” made a distinction between fighting for “another nation’s mere interests and supporting her survival” — a claim you do not substantiate, but let’s a do a quick exercise with Washington’s Farewell Address and insert “The Middle East” in each spot that Washington says Europe:
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities…
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
That clear things up?
#2. Calvin casts Ron Paul as “Evil’s Unofficial Spokesman” for often finding “the enemy’s version of events more credible than America’s.” First off, Calvin makes an equivocation in his use of the word “America.” By “America” he means “Washington,” but the conflation of the two allows him to accuse Ron Paul of being anti-American, when he’s really just opposed to Washington — and what conservative shouldn’t be?
Most Americans know that it is the Washington establishment which threatens America’s interests most. The Tea Party movement is filled with Americans who don’t want Washington running our lives because it inevitably makes a mess of things. Ever consider that maybe Iranians feel the same way and don’t want Washington running their lives either? Especially when it was Washington, after all, that toppled Iran’s democracy to replace it with a dictator?
Now you tell me what’s anti-American: robbing America blind in taxes so that Washington can topple democracies and replace them with kings(!), or opposing such policies and pointing out that they tend to make people in other countries angry at us?
And #1. Here Calvin goes way over the line into totally deranged, neoconservative moonbattery. His final point is that Ron Paul is really just doing it all for the fame and money. Oh right, Calvin — because back in the freaking 1970s Ron Paul knew that decades later in 2007, when he would be an old man, a movement of people would coalesce around him and fund his presidential campaign via a new technology called the Internet and help him make a killing in the market for books on Austrian economics.
That was definitely his plan all along. Way back then, Ron Paul knew that he would just have it made in 2007 if he stuck it out as a totally obscure congressman from Texas who would never achieve the kind of power or praise that politicians inevitably do when they sell out to special interests and grow Washington. That makes a lot of sense.
Or maybe he has the most consistently conservative voting record of any member of Congress because he actually believes in it. And maybe you’re criticizing him so fiercely because you don’t.
At best, Ladies and Gentleman, I submit the essay I have written above as evidence that Calvin Freiburger and people like him are very confused, and very misinformed.Published in