Those of you who know me know I’m a huge Gary Johnson fan. I was hooked from the day he announced his candidacy last April. But despite his great story and best efforts, the Republican Party and the mainstream media succeeded in marginalizing him out of the Republican nomination race. So with Governor Johnson gone, the only Republican politician left running on a liberty platform is Ron Paul.
Ron Paul has the best economic platform of any candidate running. He’s told us he’d submit a budget in which $1 trillion is cut and 5 federal departments are eliminated in year 1. He’s told us he’d audit and look to end the Federal Reserve, the entity responsible for why $1 doesn’t buy today what it could 25 years ago. He’d fight to return free-market principles to the healthcare industry — the only real way to increase quality and decrease cost. He’d fight to end the PATRIOT Act, one of the biggest infringements on our civil liberties in decades, and the “War on Drugs,” which is an abject failure in every sense of the word and then some.
But for all his economic chops, of which no one seriously questions, it’s Paul’s foreign policy stance that’s the subject of so much misinformation and, in my opinion, willful mischaracterization. Because of that, many of Paul’s would-be supporters withhold support because they’ve been convinced his ideas are “nuts.” He is routinely called an isolationist, yet in truth advocates a non-interventionist foreign policy. Isolationism is the idea that we should build a proverbial wall around our borders and completely shut ourselves off from the world in every way — no trade, no communication. Essentially non-intervention is the position that we should engage in trade with other nations, but when it comes to their politics and their conflicts, we should stay out unless threats or attacks are made against us. A policy of non-intervention is nothing new. It has been promoted by the likes of James Madison, President George Washington, President Thomas Jefferson and many others.
You can’t have limited government at home, while having big government abroad. Paul is politically and ideologically consistent in that regard, something the other candidates are not. Conservatives are supposed to have a well-placed skepticism of government, and yet when it comes to our military, that skepticism is ignored. The reason usually given is that our military is one of the few enumerated powers in the Constitution and we need a strong defense. And while I understand and agree with the notion, such a response sidesteps the issue. The US governmen’t has nearly 1000 bases around the world and overt troop deployments in over 130 countries (who knows how many other countries we’re operating in covertly). There’s no way we’re operating within the confines of the Constitution with that kind of military footprint. And Ron Paul’s not the only one who believes we need less government abroad — he has been the recipient of more in military campaign donations than any other candidate, including President Obama. I imagine there aren’t any more knowledgeable people regarding what we’re doing abroad than our soldiers on the front lines, and they support Paul.
We are routinely called the world’s police because our military is seemingly involving ourselves everywhere, and that is expensive. DOD budget (not including wars and other spending like healthcare which is filed under a different department) weighed in at about $700B in 2010. In 2002, we we spent a relatively svelte $400B. If the military’s primary purpose, as outlined in Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution, is to provide for the common defense of the United States, are we 75% safer in 2012 than we were in 2002? If any domestic budget item or entitlement program increased spending by 75% in 8 years, conservatives would be screaming from the rooftops about the waste and corruption. The Pentagon’s acquisition department (the department responsible for purchasing everything from toilets to fighter jets) employs 30,000 people. Just like in every other budget item, there is huge waste in our military; and just like in every other budget item, there exists little incentive to root it out.
Paul doesn’t ignore global threats, and acknowledges that we have enemies. He simply chooses not to view the world solely through the lens of our military. Sustained peace can only be achieved through mutually beneficial trade, not through force. If you’re going to declare war on a trading partner, you’re going to need a damn good reason to do so. The only people who are really looking to attack us are the radical Islamists, and it’s not a sustainable SOP for them to sacrifice their best men. We didn’t go to bed 9/10/01 with everything as rainbows and unicorns and wake up the next day to destruction though. 9/11 was 50+ years in the making, and it originated with US intervention in the region. Now believe me, that doesn’t excuse the actions of Al-Qaeda, but it does leave our government partially responsible for what transpired.
At the end of the day, I’m tired of liberals who want to grow the government by taxing and spending, and I’m tired of conservatives who want to grow the government by borrowing and spending. I want to vote for someone who understands the proper role of government, who will honor his oath to the Constitution, who is confident in his convictions and someone who offers a better path forward. There is only 1 choice, 1 person, who fits the description — Ron Paul.