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Ron Paul: three strikes on the batshit-o-meter

Something I posted to Slashdot regarding Ron Paul and some of his batshit-crazy views.

No, I don't mean eliminating the IRS and Social Security, those I'm willing to discuss. I mean his relationship to consensual physical reality. Ron Paul's campain has picked up a lot of interest among libertarian-leaning internet folks, but I think a lot of them don't know his views on some key concepts, and might understand him as less of a friend of liberty if they saw him for the religious wacko he is.

But, puhlease give up the single-issue bullshit.

His position on Roe v. Wade is only a symptom, not the whole of his disease. It shows that his position is not one of preferring less government and more freedom, but of simply moving government powers around; and it shows the influence of irrational religious belief on his thoughts and opinions.

It shows that he's anti-science, when he makes statements such as "As an obstetrician, I know that partial birth abortion is never a necessary medical procedure." The whole purpose of intact dilation and extraction (the real name of the procedure) is to avoid damage to the woman's uterus. It is generally safer for the patient that dilation and evacuation. IDX is only "never a necessary medical procedure" if the health of the patient isn't a concern.

This is not a surprise from someone who, for all the noise he makes about the Constitution, believes that "a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution", and who does not accept the reality of evolution.

So, thanks, Dr. Paul, for bringing your medical "expertise" to patients you've never examined, but fuck you very much.

The enemy of good is perfect. You will never find a candidate -- mainstream or fringe -- that perfectly represents every one of your hot button issues, whatever they may be.

Certainly true - I did some work for the Kerry campaign for the general election last time around, despite his bad record on the RKBA and his less than inspiring positions on many other issues. (I still voted Green (Cobb), since I live in a safely blue state.) However bad Kerry was, he had the very important plus of not being batshit crazy like Bush.

That's the issue here - there are hot button issues, and then there are batshit crazy issues. Being pro-torture is a batshit crazy issue. Being unable to accept the reality of biological evolution is a batshit crazy issue. Being in favor of outlawing abortion, of forcing women to carry pregnancies to term at gunpoint (however indirect the threat), is a batshit crazy issue.

Yes, that means that all the Republican candidates, and a large portion of the U.S. in general, are batshit crazy. I'll stand by that.

I'm willing to give ordinary citizens who are perhaps not well educated some slack on holding batshit crazy views - otherwise very nice people can believe in creationism, that most Muslims are terrorists, in the physical reality of extraterrestrial aliens who abduct humans and/or of angels who bring them visions, that Iraq was behind 9/11, or that an zygote is a person because some sort of ghost comes into human egg cells along with the sperm. I can deal with neighbors or coworkers, even students or clients, who have views like this, as I smile and nod and say "That's very interesting, though I'm afraid I can't agree."

But a candidate for office? Batshit crazy views are an immediate disqualification.

Between his views on abortion, the separation of church and state, and evolution, Paul earns three strikes on the batshit-o-meter. Thanks for playing and we have some lovely parting gifts.

If the worst were to come about and elective abortions were outlawed nation-wide, it would not be anywhere near as big a deal as it was before. Women have much more freedom, and more importantly, ability to control their bodies today than they had before.

Huh? If elective abortions were outlawed nation-wide, that would mean exactly that women's freedom and ability to control their bodies was reduced. What you are saying makes no sense.

And if state governments controlling women's bodies "would not be anywhere near as big a deal as it was before", then the U.S. is finished, over, done; the rational few of us ought to just abandon it to the religious extremists.



Thank you so much! I am so sick of Ron Paul's rhetoric confusing liberal and pro-choice voters. He makes the claim that the Supreme Court should never have had the ability to allow abortion, but if there were a TRUE separation of Church and State, the abortion issue would never make it to ANY court, because the "pro-life" (ha ha. right.) argument is BORN OF RELIGION.

This is a fabulous article :) Thanks.

Your views on Ron Paul are grossly inaccurate. You don't even mention his views regarding the US Constitution, economic or even foreign policy. So who are you voting for? Some write-in from the green party??? You have got to be kidding me. People like you are the reason why George Bush is in office to begin with.

If you have evidence that I am inaccurate regarding my understanding of Ron Pauls's views on abortion, evolution, or the separation of church and state, please present it. Otherwise, unless you share his batshit crazy views, I think you (and a lot of other folks) need to get over your infatuation with him.

His stance on abortion and the separation of church and state show quite well what that his view of the U.S. Constitution is an ignorant one that ignores the rights of individuals. All his noise about limiting the power of the federal government is meaningless if it just means that the individual states are more free to screw people over.

And since he's proven himself batshit crazy, I don't care what he says about foreign or domestic policy.

Who will I vote for next year? None of the Republicans running are members of the reality-based community - when Ron Paul is the best of the bunch, you know it's a sad time.

I might be willing to vote for Obama or Edwards if they are the Democratic nominee. (Or maybe Kucinich, but we know the odds of that.) Certainly won't vote for Clinton, made up my mind on that years ago.

Other than that, I'll be checking out the Green and Libertarian Party candidates.

The reason George Bush is in office is electoral fraud and the incompetence of the Democratic party, not because I've voted for Green Party candidates.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

Separation of Church and State is a phrase that has changed meaning over our history. A good overview that avoids the "is it good or bad" question is Separation of Church and State" by Philip Hamburger (Harvard University Press). For instance, in 1776, separation of church and state meant that ministers couldn't be politicians, and vice versa. The thinking was that you couldn't do both jobs effectively at the same time. Most people were against the state making such a judgement, which is why it isn't in the constitution. Today "separation" means that politicians must act like a secularist while in office, and maybe non-secularists shouldn't be in office at all. That isn't in the constitution either.

What *is* in there is the "anti-establishment" clause, which says that the Federal Government can't make any religion official (although States are free to if their constitution allows it - e.g. Maryland was Catholic and Virginia was Episcopal until anti-establishment clauses were added to their constitutions). Today, "anti-establishment" is reasonably interpreted to mean you can't use a Federal office to "push" a religion, whether or not such pushing amounts to an official "establishment". This results in a lot of judicial hairsplitting to distinguish between religious freedom of an office holder and "pushing" their religion.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Protestants abused the anti-establishment clause to create barriers to Catholics holding office (or doing Catholic things while in office). Now they are getting a taste of their own medicine as Secularists abuse it to erect barriers to Protestants. Ironically, the anti-establishment clause is now being used to effectively establish the current popular "religion": Secularism.

Today "separation" means that politicians must act like a secularist while in office, and maybe non-secularists shouldn't be in office at all...Ironically, the anti-establishment clause is now being used to effectively establish the current popular "religion": Secularism.

Uh, right. Secularism is so popular that believers are having a hard time getting elected.

Really. What is it with the Christian right and their persecution complex?

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

More on Paul and his racist views here.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

Thanks for making abortion such a clearly obvious black & white issue. So, at what point in the development of the human (or pre-birth fetus, if you prefer) should crushing in the skull not be legal?

Yes, he's a loon because of his views on the separation of church and state. You haven't done much reading up on American history have you? This was a controversial topic even when the Constitution was written. You should be asking what kind of argument do people on the other side of the fence have.

Oh, yet another black & white issue, evolution. Except the word evolution means different things to different people. I will tell you Ron's position, since it's so obvious you are oblivious (and yet manage to spread your ignorance publicly.) Ron is aware of the evidence of evolution, the mechanism by which it occurs, how it affects developing populations, yadda yadda. He's a medical doctor. What he does not accept is that life originated through mutation. He questions the origin - he's religious, remember. If you can show him the spontaneous development of a single, primitive cellular DNA structure, I bet you'd make him think damn hard about it.

Thanks for making abortion such a clearly obvious black & white issue.

Happy to be of service.

Despite the sentimental attachment we all have to babies (an obviously evolutionarily useful trait), there are aspects of the abortion issue that are black and white.

We know the banning abortions kills woman, when they go to back-alley abortionists.

We know that the idea the a zygote or an embryo is a person is based on superstition, not science. We know that "personhood" is a function of the forebrain, which doesn't really start functioning until after birth.

We know that IDX is sometimes a medically necessary procedure.

So, at what point in the development of the human (or pre-birth fetus, if you prefer) should crushing in the skull not be legal?

It is a woman's choice as to whether to give birth or not. Up until birth, it's not the government's business.

A newborn human is not a "person", in the philosophical sense, yet. It takes time both for the nervous system to develop physically, and for it to be "programmed" as the infant interacts with its environment. But since in our society it's very easy to hand a newborn up for adoption, making birth the point as which full legal protection kicks in is a simple line and doesn't reduce anyone's freedom.

Oh, yet another black & white issue, evolution.

Why, yes, it is. You either understand that humans - and other species - evolved out of other, earlier organisms, through the process of differential survival; or you're woefully ignorant. It's as black and white as knowing that the Earth goes around the Sun.

He's a medical doctor.

Which doesn't mean he knows jack about science. An M.D. is a practical professional degree. My own doctor studied biology as an undergrad, but her husband - a anesthesiologist - was an engineering major and knows little biology.

If you can show him the spontaneous development of a single, primitive cellular DNA structure...

If he can fix it so I have a billion years and a planet-sized lab to work on it...

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

"We know that the idea the a zygote or an embryo is a person is based on superstition, not science. We know that "personhood" is a function of the forebrain (sic), which doesn't really start functioning until after birth."

If left UN-disturbed, what you call a zygote will be a baby. And the question isn't about murdering "personhoods (sic)," it is about murder of babies.
And while there are persistent insistence that the mother might be in danger, we can be sure that in 100% of abortions...a baby dies. So drop the fake "concern for momma" line. It is strike-two on the bat-shit-o-meter.

Even people smart enough to think evolution is the only way have to understand this, right?
Oh! But wait! There are more than two theories! OMG! Strike THREE!

No. A zygote does not become a baby unless it implants in the uterus and undergoes months of development. A zygote is no more a baby than an acorn is an oak.

If you don't understand the reality of evolution, though, then further discussion of the biology of human development is certainly pointless.

I got here from slashdot....

Awesome how you link to an article YOU WROTE as reference.
+1 way too obvious troll.
+1 more for being a complete fool when it comes to Ron Paul and his platform and policies.
+1 more for not knowing that the Texas NAACP president dismissed the charges that Ron Paul is a racist:

"The Austin, Texas NAACP president, Nelson Linder, who has known Ron Paul for 20 years “unequivocally dismissed charges that the Congressman was a racist in light of recent smear attempts, and said the reason for him being attacked was that he was a threat to the establishment.”

“Dr. Paul has . . . praised Martin Luther King as his hero on many occasions spanning back 20 years,” the NAACP president said."


First: linking to a page does not mean using it as a reference.

Second: unlike many of his supporters, I've taken the time to actually look at Ron Paul. I notice that you have no response to the information above regarding his views on both the political and medical aspects of abortion, or about his stance against the separation of church and state, or about his preference for superstition over basic scientific truths. But the Paul-ites are so captivated by a Republican speaking some semblance of sense on a few issues like Iraq and about the War on Drugs that don't see - don't want to see - gaping flaws. People of a libertarian bent (whether libertarian socialist or libertarian capitalist) must make sure that a loon like Paul doesn't discredit the handful of ideas that he happens to be right on.

Third: the president of an local NAACP chapter doesn't decide the truth, or get to "dismiss" charges.

If Paul didn't write the articles, how is it that his initial reaction when they came up in 1996 was to claim he was quoted out of context? Now he claims he didn't write them at all - he was either lying then, or lying now.

And if he didn't write them, but didn't stop them from being published in his newsletter and failed to publish a rebuttal, then he's not even competent to run a 'zine, much less hold public office.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

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