Monday, December 24, 2007

The Official Graphictruth Unendorsement of Ron Paul

The War on Religion by Rep. Ron Paul: "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war."

I think Ron Paul needs the blessing of being on the short end of those taught "morality and civility" by Christian churches. I grew up in a town where there were as many churches as taverns - and there were a LOT of taverns. If the one thing didn't justify a particular flavor of abusive crap, well, the other was there to fill in for it.

As much as I personally benefited from the civility that is undoubtedly well-taught by the Episcopal Church, "morality" and "conformity" were pretty much interchangeable concepts. While some in that church were unquestionably both moral and ethical persons, I would say that at least half were there because it was "the right church" to belong to, if you were "the right sort of person."

It was no different with the Catholics, the Baptists, the Lutherans and the various Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.

Later on, as I came to deal with multiples and abuse survivors and as everyone started comparing notes; there was hardly a one of us where religion had not played a huge role in our abuse - especially the "keeping silence" part. The worse the abuse, the more rigid the facade, the taller the "pillar of the community."

There is a certain sort of person that builds such a facade for the sole purpose of keeping their particular brand of evil out of the public eye, while maintaining a secure hold on their access to victims.

And then, of course, the scandals started to happen as one by one, abused persons gained courage from one another (via the Internet, I suspect) and started disclosing. The Catholic Church has been hit hardest, but none have been immune. And there is one common thread - the idea of unaccountable, unquestionable "moral" authority.

I'm sorry, but if you simply wish to shove government out of the way of theocratic dominion, you and I must have words, Sir, for I've seen to what degree these people can be trusted, these people who wish to rule without the inconvenience of laws and customs that would permit escape from their clutches.

We have only just managed to break their stranglehold of conformity and moralism, just managed to pry their fingers from our throats, and we have just now started to speak seriously of the damage that has been done and how to proceed from here. We continue to fight those who would brand our rebellion and our individuality as evil, we resist those who would cheerfully rally the mobs - and those who would gladly sacrifice their own children upon the altar of Church and Conformity.

I've come by my anti authoritarian views honestly and by a very hard row. I trust none who hold themselves unaccountable, and who rely on religious doctrine and custom to justify their desire to dominate, control and exploit others, while I hold those who bow to and blindly trust Authority as being superior to their own conscience and more reliable than their own eyes.

I have nothing against faith - my faith has kept me alive when by all rights I should not have survived. What I take issue with is social engineering and ritually enforced cultural conformity - and that is all that Christmas has been for the last hundred years or so in these United States; a pastiche of semi-religious, semi-pagan cultural myths which amount to a shared cultural tradition. It is not a matter of faith, or a matter of true religion - it's merely a way of governing the lives of others without being accountable to an electorate or subject to the strictures of Constitution or law. And if it's somewhat benign on the surface, and behind closed doors in many cases, possibly even most - for the sake of those whom the facade is a prison, it must become both optional and transparent.

You, Ron Paul, should damn well know better, working as you do in such a den of vipers, knowing full well the distinction between the substance and the facade it conceals. There's a reason why there IS a constitution - and it's to trump those who would rule by Church, by Fiat and by Tradition.

Up to now, you have said all the right things to impress me. But it seems that as I cast about, you say quite different things to different audiences - and the whole speaks to me of a man who confuses conformity to social norms with morality, and would might well pander to shibboleths, rather than dealing with the scientifically described reality that presidents must - lest they be compared to George Bush.

And it seems to me that when doing the right thing and deference to authority come into conflict, you disappoint me. The fact that you contradicted your own position on the need to impeach Cheney means I must question your motives and alliances. The Largest Minority asks "Why did Ron Paul vote against Impeachment?"

I would like to urge all first-time pro-Paul visitors to my leftist pinko blog to please save all reactionary hate mail until after you’ve actually read what I have to say. Paul’s vote to table the impeachment resolution, then to refer it to committee is especially troubling coming from a supposed consitutionalist. He voted with the Democratic leadership on both accounts.

Perhaps even more confusing is this interview from the far-right website InfoWars from March:

Paul said that Bush should be impeached not under the umbrella of partisan vengeance but for ceaselessly breaking the laws of the land.

“I would have trouble arguing that he’s been a Constitutional President and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office.”

Opining that the U.S. had entered a period of “soft fascism,” Paul noted that the legacy of the Bush administration has been the total abandonment of Constitutional principles.

.. Ron Paul’s commitment to the constitution was tested yesterday, and it unfortunately fell short of our expectations. It’s contradictory to say there isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant an impeachment against the very same people you say are violating the constitution. Impeachment isn’t just an option, it’s an obligation. There’s no glory in defending the indefensible, and Paul’s vote was just that. I urge his supporters to contact Paul about his vote. Tell him to vote in favor of impeachment the next time Kucinich brings it back to the floor. And liberals, don’t forget to do the same with your representatives.

I'm not going to bother doing that. I'll be voting for Kucinich. Whoever gets the official nod.


Andrea said...

You just noticed that Ron Paul is a Christian? Then he must be the kind of christian I am ok with - the kind that keeps it to themselves.

LIke it or not, all the great thinkers have had some sort of spirituality attached to them.

Hating Christians is no less repulsive than Christian hate.

Dusty said...

Wow..wonderfully put. I can not add to this. Thank you for posting your thoughts so eloquently.

Bob King said...

Andrea, did you actually read my post?

I will agree that many, possibly even all "the great thinkers" include some spiritual dimension to their thought.

Even as I include Nitche, Socrates, Lau Tse and Alestair Crowley amoung the great thinkers, along with Augustine, Aristotle and Kung Fu Tse.

I will dispute the assertion that any great number of them were religious in a way that most religious contemporaries would have approved of.

Consider the death of Socrates.

There's a little Jesuit in-joke, that there is no theologian nor theology worth consideration that has not been excommunicated or proscribed at one point or another.

I've long known Ron Paul claimed to be a Christian. I parted ways the moment I found out that he was actually a Pharisee, a person to whom faith is a public performance art. You may be familiar with what Jesus had to say about such people:

"Behold, they HAVE their reward." And it may be valid and worthwhile, but it's a social, secular and political virtue, not a spiritual one.

I do not "hate Christians." My faith derives from the words of Christ, which is what I would think to be Christianity by definition.

The fact that those words seem to put me at odds with most cultural Christians these says makes me reluctant to use the term "Christians," much less attend church. But I don't hate Christians; I dispise and deride hypocrits and social bunnies who belong to a church in order to belong to a socially acceptable group.

After reading the bible, and especially the Words Printed In Red, it seems to me that at the very least, if your religion becomes socially acceptable and encourages behavior that everyone approves of - you should reform immediately.

My standard is "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." A President must be president for all, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist, Deist, Agnostic, Pagan and Satanist alike.

It is the job of the President to enforce the secular law, not any particular religious doctrine or moral standard. Aside from the obvious issues that exist with Theocracy from a civil libertarian view, there's an issue with theocracy that should trouble the most rigid and doctrinaire person of faith:

A Govenrment, in order to function, must demand the lowest minimum standard compatible with a viable society with many and variable constituants of various backgrounds, religions and understandings.

A religion must arguably demand more, for it is an exclusive thing, requiring some degree of faith in the value of uncompelled virtue - at least within the broad tradition of western religious arguement, there is a general consensus that a virtue required by law is no virue at all. It's merely mute compliance, social conformity or the lack of enough guts to disagree with doctrine enforced by law. It brings the faith of the faithful into disrepute.

By claiming Universality and temporal dominion, it must turn a blind eye to cases where conformity exists in public even when derision and noncompliance is widely known to exist in confidence.

Soon enough, even officials of the faith are corrupt, for in making themselves the path to power, they invite the vices common to those who seek power for it's own sake. Consider Ted Haggard. Is he not the poster child for this very phenomonon? The Very leader of the Very church that is attempting, by means of very questionable tactics of evangelism, create an Evangilist officer corps for the Air Force, one primarily loyal to God - as embodied, of course, by some person of evangelical faith, who may or may not also hold political office.

It must expect a minimum conformity to law, rather than demanding a high standard of behavior even when it's a matter that is not reasonably possible to monitor or prosecute.

Whenever religion and government become entangled, the result is a bastard crossbreed that performs neither function to the standards that either a citizen or a congregation has every right to expect. One only need Google "Richelieu" to see what might occur in one direction - and of course Bastille Day celebrates the ultimate backlash to such cynical regulation and exploitation of the "inferior classes."

Neither is a good outcome, and both are the more or less direct result of confusing moral and legal authority.

I cannot tolerate any president who seems at all unclear on this critical issue. The Federalist Papers are brutally clear as to the necessity for the separation of Church and State, a position I believe to be informed by the faith of our forefathers, not in oppositon to it. The Salem witch trials and a huge number of other exclusions, persecutions and injustices in the name of religion of all sorts had been suffered by many in the colonies up to the day the Revolution became possible, and none had suffered worse than members of one sincere Christian community at the hands of another, equally sincere Christian community.

I find Ron Paul's essay disputing the concept of separation of Church and State to be bizarre at the very least.

It calls into question the legitimacy of his entire Constitutional stance; it's quite possible to view many of his "constitutional" stands as being in service to social conservatism.

His flip-flop on impeachment is particularly troubling in this light.

When questioned about his stances on drug laws and abortion, while he immediately and appropriately states that it's inappropriate and unconstitutional for the Federal government to regulate such matters, he then immediately asserts that it is the right of the state.

Perhaps - but it would be far more constitutionally defensible to assert that unless there is a "compelling and narrowly defined state interest," it's an individual right. Both the ninth and tenth amendments seem to me to underline that, - that ANY government must demonstrate an overwhelming and compelling necessity to regulate any individual activity, and that necessity must go quite a ways beyond religious or secular distaste.

I am personally rather conservative socially. There are many things that I will hotly defend in principle that I will never practice. I believe passionately that people have the right to do things that I think are wrong - so long as the consequences are primarily limited to themselves, and I'll willingly abide with a degree of minor inconvenience and even a slight risk or to in order to maximize individual liberty and minimize collective intrusion into our lives.

Aside from my Libertarian and Invividualist views, there is a pragmatic validity to my views, learned from the martial arts and confirmed by most of the rest of life:

"Bruises teach best."

That's not to be taken as a justification for inflicting bruises, indeed, I think artificially inflated consequences get in the way of learning from cause and effect.

But society as a whole benefits by seeing the consequences, positive and negative, of those who find their nature compels them to ski out of bounds.


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