Saturday, December 29, 2007

The "Ron Paul Revolution"

I was initially very interested in Ron Paul, because at least he was a Conservative willing to be a Conservative. If nothing else I had some respect for that. You don't have to dig too terribly deep to figure out what he's about.

Unfortunately this kinda stopped working in his favor. Checking out things like this kind of... turned me off.

I mean, being pro-medical-freedom or whatever is troubling when he's opening the door for his pseudoscience backers, particularly when you contrast "medical freedom" with "pro-life." I mean, either one of these alone is a different story but together? I dunno. I feel like he's looking for the freedom of pseudoscientific quacks to scam people, but not for women's reproductive freedom.

Then there are racist statements that kinda worried me. I don't put much stock in the supposed endorsements by white supremacist groups in the US, since those seem just a little too conveniently damning to be true. However, he did sponsor a bill to make all Iranian Students in the United States ineligible for any form of federal aid.

His views on citizenship are kind of interesting. Here is the first of three attempts to amend the Constitution to "deny United States citizenship to individuals born in the United States to parents who are neither United States citizens nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States." Nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States? The heck does that mean? I have these visions of people being deported because their parents lacked sufficient allegiance. Yikes.

He also wanted to repeal OSHA Actually he tried twice. Another yikes. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm kinda into the whole workplace-safety thing. Also, he doesn't like the idea of a minimum wage, which will be pretty hard to swallow for people who're trying to survive at the minimum wage level. He's not a big fan of anti-trust laws, either. Big surprise.

He sponsored another bill (well, twice actually) "to prohibit the Federal Government from planning, developing, implementing, or administering any national teacher test or method of certification and from withholding funds from States or local educational agencies that fail to adopt a specific method of teacher certification." Our education system here is a global laughingstock as it is, thanks. Please don't take away what accountability we do have.

He also wants all 50 states to have their own currency, along with separate federal money. What? Why?

He's so proud of claiming that he's never voted to raise taxes (see his commercials), but he wants people's taxes to hit them harder so that he can "restore to taxpayers awareness of the true cost of government." WTF. Either you want people to burdened by their taxes or you don't!

All in all? Not liking this voting record. Seems.... kind of bad.


Trey said...

Medical freedom does not imply pseudoscientific quacks should scam people... medical freedom is more meant to allow people to use treatments that the FDA has not approved, such as this recent case.

Many pro-lifers believe a "human" life starts when there is a potential for growth outside of the womb. I am assuming Ron Paul holds these beliefs as well. He may be overstepping his bounds here, but I need to look into it more.

That racial statement is a well-known one. It is the one statement everyone targets from Paul's past. He didn't actually make that statement. However, they were made in his name.

I'll have to look into the Iranian Student Expulsion Act also. I'd never heard of that one before. It appears that he tried passing it in 1979, so digging up information on this one might be tricky.

His views on birthright citizenship actually have good reason behind them. There are stories I've heard of families being torn apart because the parents are deported and the child is taken by authorities. I agree with birthright citizenship, but only if both parents are legal residents, meaning the whole family separation problem will not occur.

I don't have time to make comments on all the rest of theses statements right now, but honestly if you did some research on a lot of those issues I think you'd find out logical reasons why he made most of those choices. Your interpretations of some of those bills are also faulty.

Cobalt said...

Thanks for the comment. Yet, I'm afraid I disagree rather strongly with you on basically all points (particularly the vaguely insulting bits at the end, implying that my poor ignorant views are based on a lack of evidence and are therefore not a truly valid alternative viewpoint).

One: Check the rest of the article about the racist statements, not merely the fact that the article mentions them. Please note the fact that he chose not to retract them later (and we're talking for a long time) because it would be "too confusing." Honesty? Bah. Too confusing. At that point he knew that certain things had been said in his name, and the moment he decided not to clear the issue up he became responsible for the statements. The moment he became responsible for the statements was the moment this passed beyond a simple, "I didn't say that after all," retraction.

(In case you think I'm making this up... The original statements were made in... 1992, I believe. It took him this long to say those weren't his beliefs. In 2001 they got him in trouble, and now all of a sudden he's having to keep an eye on these things. All of a sudden he's having to retract statements that he was clearly okay with for nearly ten years. Hm!)

Two: His beliefs about when life begins have nothing to do with a contradiction between his strong pro-life stance and his strong stance in favor of freedom of medical choice. To me that'd require protecting women's right to choose as well. We're not talking about when life begins. We're talking about medical choice, and if medical choice were the only issue on the table (uninfected by theology) than a woman's medical choices should also be protected. However, that's not his position.

Three: You said that my interpretations of some of these bills are faulty, but you didn't state which or how because you "don't have time." Well, let me know when you do have time to make an argument with evidence, and I'll be happy to respond on the subjects of OSHA, the elimination of minimum wage, the repeal of anti-trust legislation, and his apparent disdain for national teacher certification. I'd also like to see clearer refutations of my interpretation of his currency bills, as well as a clearer refutation of my interpretation of his tax reform (the one that's intended to make people more aware of how much government costs).

Four: About the FDA thing. First, the link you provided. It's the FDA's job to see that treatments are not approved until they can give a good pile of evidence that they aren't going to be harmful. Most people appreciate this stance. Patients can either get their drugs right this instant (risking long-term side effects that haven't had time to be tested except on these early patients), or the FDA can keep drugs off the market until those long-term effects are tested. Sorry, but I prefer medicine that's proven it works. So does the FDA.

However, Ron Paul does not because he's a member of the same strongly-partisan "medical" organization that distrusts peer review and tried to prove abortion gives women cancer, despite the fact that a reputable organization has disproven it.

The blog entry I cited mentions a couple of things that I don't think you looked at. I did use that, after all, because it included enough information to be worth reading on its own. I didn't just pick it at random. To assuage worries that I did, here's another entry that offers even more.

For your convenience, here's a piece of the entry:
Yes, Ron Paul is very popular among the quack-friendly set, particularly those tending to see a conspiracy between the FDA, FTC, and big pharma to keep them from selling their favorite nostrums. There's good reason for that, given how staunch a supporter of "health freedom" he's been over the years. What a wonderfully Orwellian term! After all, who could be against "health freedom"? If you are, you're against freedom! It's like being against free speech, mom, the flag, and apple pie. In actuality, "health freedom" is nothing more than a clever catch phrase that in effect describes measures that allow quacks the freedom to hawk their wares unfettered by pesky interference from the FDA or FTC. Perhaps the most notorious example of "health freedom" laws that have been passed is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This is a law that emasculated the FDA in its ability to protect the public from dangerous supplements by reclassifying supplements as "food" or "nutrition" rather than drugs. Never mind that manufacturers of many supplements make blatantly drug-like claims for their products. The FDA can't do anything about it, as long as the claims are carefully worded so as not to suggest that the product or ingredient is "intended for prevention or treatment of disease." Since the DSHEA, it's been more or less the wild, wild West out there as far as supplements go. Not surprisingly, Ron Paul is very much a supporter of this law, opposing any attempts to weaken its protections for the supplement industry's ability to make dubious health claims for its products.

You'll have to check the original pages for Orac's citations, since copy-pasting doesn't preserve hyperlinks. The article itself is worth the read anyway. Even if you're not inclined to believe whatever a blogger says, Orac cites pretty thoroughly, and you can check for yourself to see if it's satisfactory.

I've shown you some of my evidence, and I'd like to see yours. When you get the time.