My view is that Rep. Ron Paul must be seen as an advocate of two different kinds.
First, he is an advocate of the Confederacy. That is, he thinks that the Federal government is too big and intrusive, and that the national government should be small and unintrusive in our lives, in the same way that the argument for the Confederate States of America was about just such a critique of the Federal government in the 1800’s. The problem with such a theory of government is that it does nothing to reign in the overwhelming power of private business which, in the case of the Confederacy, was responsible for the institution of slavery. So, yes, it might be a good thing to have a less intrusive federal government in our lives, but Paul’s Libertarianism does not allow us any way to protect us from the large corporate interests.
One might argue that the power of modern corporations and the corruption of government by corporate interests starts with there being an unchecked government. That is, Pep. Paul may be correct that we wouldn’t have the overwhelming powers of corporations if we first didn’t have an unchecked Federal government. So, Paul’s effort to reign in the Federal reserve and his attempts to reduce the size and influence of government are his attempts to attack bad corporate interests as well as bad government. I would be happy to hear him make the case that this is actually what he is doing. However, one argument for a larger Federal government is that it is needed just in order to check corporate power.
Second, he is an advocate of a number of likable policies. He consistently opposes the wars the last several administrations have gotten us into. He thinks the large number of foreign military bases and huge investment in military procurement is bad for the country. We are being impoverished, and we are being made the enemy in many parts of the world. He is a consistent advocate for the Bill of Rights and the protection of our civil liberties as a fundamental part of what our country should be about. And, he is against corruption in government and for the rule of law. These positions should be attractive to Republicans, Democrats, and independents. When Paul makes these claims, he’s like Gen. Robert Lee who attracted enlistees to the Army of Virginia because of his personal character and positions. The problem with this, however, is that though Paul has personal positions that might be attractive, even if they were put into practice in a Paul administration, they do not justify the kind of government that Paul advocates. That is, the government that allowed and lived on slavery did not deserve the kind of Generals and armies that it put in the field. We should not bring about a country that could not protect its people from corporate tyranny just because it’s advocated by an honorable man.
The following is an interview by CBS News asking Rep. Paul several questions about his candidacy.