Ashley F. Miller

Ashley F. Miller
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Birthday
May 23
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Ashley is currently getting her PhD in Mass Communication from USC, with a focus on social media and film. She’s also active in the skeptic and atheist communities and gives occasional speeches on the subject. She graduated cum laude from Emory University before getting her MFA at FSU’s Film Conservatory. She is a writer and film editor; she’s worked in feature development, reality TV, short films, web series, and writing online news & opinion pieces.

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Salon.com
DECEMBER 11, 2011 4:26PM

Why does anyone like Ron Paul?

Rate: 3 Flag

I’ve been trying to understand why smart people I know support Ron Paul and I just can’t get my head around it.  I get the sense that maybe the Ron Paul People I know just don’t realize what Ron Paul’s all about. That or they just don’t care.

The Ron Paul People I know are almost all straight, single, relatively young, non-religious, white men. Available demographics suggest that this is an accurate picture; there are others in Ron Paul’s camp, but it’s basically youngish white men.

They do not consider themselves to be Democrats or Republicans. Some of them hate the idea of rules, many of them hate the idea of having their money taken away in taxes, but none of them are stupid or without the resources to learn more about their candidate. And none seem to care about any of Ron Paul’s policies outside of cutting spending, regulations, and taxes.

Every Ron Paul Person I know comes out of the woodwork any time anything negative is said about the guy, no matter how true the statement and no matter how much that individual disagrees with Ron Paul’s position or behavior. I get the sense that libertarians are so excited to have someone on the national stage that they don’t want to see anything problematic with the guy, but he’s transparently a bad deal.

So, why are these people supporting a crazy, racist Christian fundamentalist?

Why People Love Ron Paul:

  1. He believes in reduced military spending
  2. Less taxes, less rules, less government
  3. He wants to end the “War on Drugs”
  4. He is “philosophically consistent”

That last one seems to be big — people seem to think that Ron Paul offers a coherent philosophy to deal with politics and that’s why they like him.

He’s very consistent on the whole taxes idea — he wants to get rid of the income tax, which apparently makes us all the property of the government, and his voting record shows this.  I can see the appeal, even if I totally disagree.

Ron Paul is Anti-Free Market:

But if we take this libertarian personal freedom thing to its logical conclusion, Paul would also be all for open borders and a completely open labor markets, right?  Yeah, but not so much — he’s very anti open borders.

The toughest part of showing any compassion or tolerance to the illegal immigrants … is the tremendous encouragement it gives for more immigrants to come illegally and avoid the wait and the bureaucracy.

So, bureaucracy good when it keeps the brown people out? Taxing the insanely rich is slavery! Letting foreign people work in America should be illegal!

He voted for building a fence on the Mexican border, reporting illegal aliens who go to hospitals, and for banning student visas from “terrorist nations”.  He’s all about reducing the military and allowing the free market, except when it comes to this for some reason.

Oh, it’s also great that he wants to get rid of the fed, I love this. You know who made the fed what it is today? A guy named Alan Greenspan. You know, Alan Greenspan, the most famous and powerful libertarian ever to work in the US government. He was a disciple of Ayn Rand and was part of the inner circle of her cult. Alan Greenspan almost single-handedly caused this recession. By all means, let’s fix the fed, but let us also acknowledge it was a libertarian that got us here!

Ron Paul Doesn’t Support Minorities:

He thinks the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you know that whole equality thing, was a violation of people’s rights and wouldn’t have forced anyone to lift the Jim Crow laws. He called MLKJr day “hate whitey day”.  According to Ron Paul supporters, this is OK because he wants to legalize drugs and end the death penalty, both of which would disproportionately go to help black men.

I don’t even want to go into all of the sketchy things that he’s said, I’ll just offer you this link and be done with it.  Suffice to say, the guy’s said some unkind things about minorities.

On top of this, he wants English to be the official language of the US and thinks government shouldn’t offer services in any other language.  How’s that for federal bureaucratic overhead?

A lot of people respect his position on gay marriage, which is that it shouldn’t be the federal government’s business even though he personally is opposed to it. It may not be the federal government’s business, but he’s certainly voted to enshrine homophobic behavior in federal law. He voted against including “sexual orientation” as a protected class in ENDA, meaning he thinks it’s OK to fire people for being gay, and he voted to ban gay adoptions in DC.

Ron Paul is Against Church/State Separation:

Ron Paul has a 17% rating with the AU, meaning he almost never votes in favor of a bill that would be promoting the separation of church and state.

The guy is crazy fundamentalist, no lie. It informs most of his political positions, including right to life stuff that I’ll address in a minute. But it also includes something that maybe some of my libertarian friends agree with. Ron Paul is one of the few politicians in DC willing to say anything negative about Zionism or Israel, and I know a lot of libertarians think that we shouldn’t be Israel’s protector anymore. But do you know why he doesn’t support Israel?

Despite the fact that many Fundies, known as Premillenialists, support Israel because their end-time theology tells them that it is necessary for the return of Jesus, Christian Reconstructionists like Paul have a different view, basically that the Israeli government isn’t the right one for the end of days and the right sort of Christians are now the chosen people of Revelations.

“I think of the Israeli government as different than what I read about in the Bible. I mean, the Israeli government doesn’t happen to be reflecting God’s views. Some of them are atheist, and their form of government is not what I would support… And there are some people who interpret the chosen people as not being so narrowly defined as only the Jews — that maybe there’s a broader definition of that.”

He and Sarah Palin can get into a fight over whose Christian end of days attitude towards Israel is the right one!

He often gets accused of being anti-Semitic because he’s anti-Zionism, and he may well be, but his position on Israel is all about religion. He’s generally isolationist anyway, so it works with the rest of his shtick.

And, while his faith isn’t his number one talking point, he sure does have a statement of faith on his website and includes a reference to it in his debates.

And, despite the fact that he thinks the education department should be dismantled, he also thinks that public funds should pay for private Christian educations and supports a constitutional amendment in favor of school prayer.  Again, not a libertarian stance at all.

Ron Paul is Rabidly Anti-Choice and Anti-Science:

This goes hand in hand with the crazy religious stuff, it’s all related.

This man, who is a doctor, does not believe in evolution.

This man, who is a doctor, believes that life begins at conception.

He has a somewhat complex view on abortion in that he believes that it, like murder, should be tried and controlled at the state level, not the federal one. That said, he has voted repeatedly for national bills that promote the pro-life cause and introduced a bill that would say that life begins at conception.

He voted not to authorize embryonic stem cell research multiple times. He has a 0% by NARAL, meaning he votes 100% against abortion rights. He voted yes on the Stupak Amendment to prevent health insurance companies from offering abortion coverage. Voted to prevent funding from going to schools that make the morning after pill available and to provide funding for abstinence only education.

He cosponsored a bill to take funds from a needy family benefit program to go to support non-governmental groups that counsel people not to have abortions.

Again, how is this not federal interference?

Ron Paul Helps Billionaires Not the Poor

This section, I know, is where a lot of libertarians are going to agree with his votes, but I have to say I think they don’t reflect well on him.

He is completely against environmental regulation and trying to find alternative energy sources.  Despite his claims that he’d rather have unions control the market than a minimum wage, he voted for legalizing union busting more than once.  Despite his supposed belief in the free market, he voted to ban shareholders from weighing in on executives’ compensation.  Extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, expanded them, and undermined Social Security by changing the standards.

Voted against the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act to feed children and voted against a measure to ensure children had health insurance.Voted yes on a measure to prevent federally funded laborers to be paid the prevailing wage of the area, so that people making less than a living wage could be reduced even further into poverty!

Ron Paul is a Hypocrite

He is completely inconsistent, not just philosophically as a libertarian, but also on very specific issues like federal funding to local areas.  Which brings us to his response to Katrina.  You’d think someone who was so waffley about his own philosophical convictions when it comes to women’s rights and immigrants would be willing to waffle a little to save lives, after all he’s all sanctity of life, right?

Is bailing out people that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?

But at least his congressional district in Texas doesn’t rely on tons of federal funding, right? Oh, no, it’s one of the top in Texas. Federal government using money to save people’s lives is apparently not OK, but him earmarking funds for his district is cool. More important than Katrina victims? Removing a sunken ship from a harbor and sending a few million dollars to Texan shrimp fishermen.

Ron Paul is a Little Nuts

But of course, my favorite part about Ron Paul is that he thinks the executive branch shouldn’t have very much power. The problem with that is that if you elect Ron Paul, he can’t do anything without violating his own philosophy because he would be the executive branch of the federal government.  Ron Paul just doesn’t make sense for anyone.

He thinks we should go back to the gold standard, which I think is pretty crazy, but that’s hardly the only place he goes a bit weird. On The Daily Show he said the following, I guess suggesting that he’s for regulations after he’s against them:

The regulations are much tougher in a free market, because you cannot commit fraud, you cannot steal, you cannot hurt people, and the failure has come that government wouldn’t enforce this. In the Industrial Revolution there was a collusion and you could pollute and they got away with it. But in a true free market in a libertarian society you can’t do that. You have to be responsible. So the regulations would be tougher.

And then there’s this:

I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.) The Bohemian Grove–perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress’s Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.

If people know this about Ron Paul and still want to vote for him, that’s obviously their choice, but I can’t help but feel like the only way you could vote for him would be in ignorance or denial of these facts.


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He is a little nuts....Great synopsis. Thank you!!
seems like a bunch of wedge issues of no real critical importance. key real issues-- downsizing the miltiary & foreign intervention, of which you said nada [obama hinted at this early in his campaign but then developed see-no-speak-no-hear-no evil on that issue], and decreasing the influence of the federal reserve.. again of which you said nada..... so this is nothing but a hatchet job. maybe you might instead ask the ppl who support ron paul, why they support him? and come to some new ideas.... you are obviously quite intellectual but you swat down key ideas like many people swat down flies.
I did actually mention his stance on military spending, foreign intervention, and the fed in the article -- did you read it?

I also did ask a lot of people why they supported Ron Paul, which is where that list of Four Reasons came from. It's just that everyone I know that likes Ron Paul is a pro-choice atheist and doesn't seem to realize that not only does Ron Paul disagree with them, he votes against them.

You can call it a hatchet job if you like and you can say I'm talking about issues that don't matter, but I personally think a candidate's opinion on abortion, separation of church and state, immigration, gay people, and racism matters a lot.
I think what's great about this is how you "swat down ideas"... ie, you prove them wrong quite soundly. Thanks for an excellent article.
I am a young white atheist male, and I like Ron Paul. I don't agree with all of his views, especially his religious ones. But I also don't agree completely with ANY politician. Obama is religious, you could say Obama is racist (insert Jeremiah Wright boilerplate here), you could say Obama is pro-war (surge in Afghanistan, involving us in Libya and Uganda, opening new military base in Australia, etc), you could say Obama is corrupt and supports billionaires over the poor (insert George Kaiser here, also he has surrounded himself with Wall Street insiders even though he was supposed to be the candidate of "change"), etc. So why do you support Obama? I voted for him in '08 because he was supposed to be the anti-war candidate that was going to fundamentally change Washington. He has followed through on none of that, so I've moved on to another anti-war candidate that wants to fundamentally change Washington. Don't see how that's super surprising.
The only problem with your criticisms of Ron Paul is that they are either A. totally untrue or B. totally irrelevant to the real problems the US is facing.

As I am one of the single white male demographic you described, I will now refute every single criticism you have made.

"Ron Paul is anti-free market. "

Nope. First, he is against a border fence (he has said as much in recent debates), and thinks illegal immigration is only a problem because of a depressed economy. He is easily the least harsh on immigration out of all the current Presidential candidates (including Obama, who has deported more illegal immigrants than any president in the last 30 years), and supports measures like punishing companies that hire illegal immigrants, rather than a massive, police-state-like border fence.

Second, Alan Greenspan is by no stretch of the imagination a libertarian even though he claims to be. Ron Paul never supported his policies and the Fed is actually a huge problem due to it's artificial credit creation and inflationary policies. So, citing his dislike for the Fed and thus Greenspan as an "inconsistency" is absurd. Also, Paul is not a Randian libertarian, but a Rothbardian libertarian. There is a huge different. Ayn Rand is awful (and contrary to popular opinion, Paul's son is not named after her.)

"Ron Paul doesn't support Minorities"

Utter falsehood. And you're actually citing that bogus newsletter that was ascribed to him, with all of the ABSURDLY fake quotes, but was never written or sanctioned by him. This was dredged up by The Nation in 2008 right before a major primary as a viciously timed hit piece and was debunked. No serious person believes that he said these things, including liberal guys like Jon Stewart etc. The bogus newsletter has been exposed as a lie and a fraud and should never be cited by anyone who is attempted to exhibit intellectual honesty and integrity.

As far as the Civil Rights Act, Paul didn't support it as a government measure and thought that top down, big government solutions actually bred more race resentment, which is an absolute fact. That's not to say that federal, state and local governments didn't have the obligation to ensure the rights of all people. They did. But this is a nit-picky talking point about a philosophical objection to a law and is in no way indicative of "racism" on Paul's part. The man's not a racist. There is no evidence of this and that number simply doesn't work.

"Ron Paul is Against Church/State Separation:"

This guy is NOT a crazy fundamentalist. No lie. He is a Christian, and it does inform some of his opinions, but to deny that Judeo-Christian tradition doesn't inform most of the opinions of most of the people in this country to some degree or another is a fallacy. I am an agnostic, and I support Paul because he is not a hypocrite or a crazy Christian fundy.

I don't know where that quote about Israel comes from, but Paul believes Israel should no longer be a client state of the United States and has the right and obligation to defend itself. His position on Israel is largely a strategic one, and anti-Zionism is not anti-semetism. He is neither an anti-semite or an isolationist. He adheres to the original, and vastly superior, American foreign policy of non-interventionism.

"Ron Paul is Rabidly Anti-Choice and Anti-Science:"

Nah. Ron Paul IS pro-life. I'm not. Don't agree with that one bit. But he does believe in abortion issues being controlled on the state level, which is actually FAR less dangerous than it being controlled at a national level. Who's to say the courts couldn't one day overturn Roe v. Wade (which is not a constitutionally sound law, though I like that abortion is legal)? If that occurred, the federal govt. would effectively make abortion illegal anywhere in the US, as it does with marijuana. People are shockingly pro-state's rights when it comes to weed, but consistency means nothing, as usual. It's even used as a jab when one offers it up as an admirable trait. To be fair, it's unlikely that Roe. v Wade will be overturned in the future, and here's why:

Most Republicans and Democrats DON'T WANT THAT. Dems are fine with Roe. v Wade, of course, but what would mainstream Republicans run on if abortion were illegal? That is a very important social issue for them to run on. That's why Reagan, Bush, Bush II etc. made no real attempt to repeal Roe v. Wade. And since abortion is likely going to remain legal, Ron Paul's views on it as president are completely irrelevant. The president can't overturn a federal court decision anyway. And he does not support an amendment that would make abortion illegal on the federal level. So no danger there. Objection! Relevance? None? Ok, next issue...

"Ron Paul Helps Billionaires Not the Poor"

Another fallacy supported by a laundry list of accusations that are both one sided and drastically over simplified. Paul doesn't believe in statism, therefore he won't support statists measures. He does, however support solutions that would ACTUALLY reduce poverty etc. instead of the FAILED policies of government intervention.

"Ron Paul is a Hypocrite"

No, he isn't. I don't know where your quote comes from (your Ron Paul is racist quotes are just fake), but it's all about context once again. Paul, a doctor who treated poor patients FOR FREE while in practice, does not hate the poor because he doesn't support the (abysmally failed) federal efforts at relief. Like most libertarians he believes that society has the responsibility to care for those in need. Society and government are not the same thing, but society will take a far less active roll when we all just accept that "hey, the government's going to take care of it." Then they botch it, as with Katrina.

About earmarks: Ron Paul does not like massive federal spending, but he does have a responsibility to his constituents. That he dislikes that our money is bilked from us in taxes doesn't mean that he should refuse to attempt to get some sort of value for his district, who's residents do, in fact, pay taxes. That's not the least bit inconsistent. That is simply logical.

"Ron Paul is a Little Nuts"

Yeah, yeah. Anyone who doesn't support the idea that we are too stupid to run our own lives, and need our benevolent government masters (who are doing such a WONDERFUL job!) to survive is nuts.

Regulations are a red herring. They wouldn't have prevented the financial crisis. All the regulators in the world wouldn't have done any good because the government DIDN'T EVEN KNOW there was a problem with the housing market. How could the wise regulators have saved us when they laughed at the idea of a bubble? Ron Paul predicted the crash but was laughed at. He was right, of course, and the regulators were not. Gabriel Kolko (a man of the left) wrote a great book about the regulatory state called "The Triumph of Conservatism" in which he exposes the fact that big business openly lobbied for regulations during the progressive era because regulation runs smaller competitors out of business and larger firms can easily afford to comply with them (well, that and they help write them- thus molding them in their favor).

The last, racist, quotes is one of those flagrantly falsified ones that Paul never said so I won't even waste time refuting it.

Ron Paul is consistent, and rejects the lie that we are all boobs who can't take care of ourselves through voluntary organizations and institutions, but instead need our wise government overlords to run our lives for us. That is a terrible libel on the human race (to quote Tom Woods) and should be completely rejected by everyone.
The tone of my reply was a bit bitchy. I should have gone back and softened it. But the facts remain. Also, I understand that Christian fundies are annoying, but a candidates religious views mean nothing when compared to their policies. And Paul's policies are actually sound. He wants to do a lot of things he could NOT do if elected, but the reason people point to foreign policy etc. is because those are vitally important things that he COULD do, and no one else will. Obama has totally failed as an anti-war candidate and is actually a huge hawk, though he walks more softly than his asinine predecessor.
Oh that's a shame cause that could have been a nice article, ruined by few things.

1) Pointing out the ethnicity and age of his support base makes you no better than some of the quotes you're trying to use against him (where he apparently points to ethnicity of people in a given context, I say "apparently" because its not sourced).

2) One of the Ron Paul quotes is a joke.... that the author seems to have taken literally (95% one).

3) Hardly any of this information is sourced, making it difficult to understand if they're direct quotes, which year the quote was made in and the general context of them.

4) You seem to have misunderstood his comment on immigration. At both points he is talking about illegal immigration, not immigration in general.

Don't get me wrong I do agree there are significant issues with Ron Paul as a candidate, he is far from a perfect candidate. However the question is the best candidate. I believe Ron Paul's problems are lesser than the issues of the other possible candidates. This if anything demonstrates how messed up the GOP is! :D

Oh and another reason people like Ron Paul is that he doesn't appear to be a corporate shill.
I DO have to say that Ron Paul IS consistent... He's a consistent tea-bagging hater. By nothing other than analyzing his votes (verses his rhetoric which changes by audience) he is a consistent misogynist, homophobe and racist. PERIOD.

The most damning thing to me though is his "Minnie Me" clone of a son. Remember the video of one of his brown shirted aides "curb stomping" a female protester? Remember the weak ass excuse of an apology?? Remember "Daddy" saying what happened was wrong??? (me either)!
^^ cmon Safe_Bet's Amy.

Sources. Please.

I had a long drawn out conversation with someone about his stance on abortion with someone telling me he was voting for banning it when infact he was just voting to reduce the number of weeks you can terminate from (to 15, for the sake of reference the UK is 24).

People need to be clear in their criticisms otherwise no-one can tell if the point is educated, opinion or slander.
"I DO have to say that Ron Paul IS consistent... He's a consistent tea-bagging hater. By nothing other than analyzing his votes (verses his rhetoric which changes by audience) he is a consistent misogynist, homophobe and racist. PERIOD." --Safe_Bet's Amy

You are wrong. PERIOD. And here's why: None of his votes are racist, misogynist or homophobic and what you are saying has no basis and reality. Please explain which votes, and WHY. The WHY matters. You can't just use a yes or a no on a vote to determine the reason behind something. To even claim that much is totally absurd. See a guy like Ron Paul is consistent because he has something called "actual principles." You can't just pick and choose what to support because it's a nice idea and you like the sentiment behind it, if the way it would be implemented flies in the face of everything you believe.
^^ To the Two Paulistas above ^^

I feel no need to list each specific instance. Asking for such nonsense is just a tried & true ploy to deflect the facts (unsuccessfully).

Run your little tea stain fingers over the keyboard yourself, boys. I will refer you to sites such as Ashley mentioned (AU & NARAL) and sites such as the ACLU, HRC & Ornicus, as well.

As far as the contention as to "Why", I quite frankly don't give a damn. The dude ROUTINELY votes against equality, women's rights and human rights. "Why" doesn't make much of a difference when you are one of the minorities he is dedicated to repress.


@. Ashley: Sorry for ranting. :/. You weren't just a kidding about them coming out of the woodwork with blinders on were ya!
"I feel no need to list each specific instance. Asking for such nonsense is just a tried & true ploy to deflect the facts"

Wow, really? Asking for you to back up your claim with some shred of evidence is "nonsense"? He didn't even say you were wrong, just asked for some clarification...sheesh.
Well, Ashley, thanks for scaring the bejeezus outta me. And I mean it in a good way. Ron Paul is one scary motha. Thanks for taking the time of gathering and analyzing all this icky stuff.

Now, what about Ru Paul for president? That would be FABULOUS!
Safe bet amy- He doesn't "routine vote against" equality. I will debate you on any and all votes that you think were an instance of him voting against equality if you're willing to back up your contentions.

I'm pro choice, but when we consider that Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate for president (of all the Reps AND Obama) that does not support mass killing in the Middle East and insane overspending that will literally bankrupt the US, I think his pro life views pale in comparison to this importance. Unless, of course, you think abortion rights are more important than the wholesale slaughter of people in the Middle East. The point is he is the only candidate that is not a fervent supporter of the war machine, and that is the number one issue because it effects everything else to such an insane degree. I believe in equality and human rights, so I don't support mass killing in foreign wars that we have absolutely no business fighting. Also, Paul is the only candidate that is not horrible on civil liberties. Obama re-signed the Patriot act, and all the other Reps support it.