Steve Ahlquist is a writer, artist and current president of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

12 responses to “Ron Paul no Friend to the Non-Religious”

  1. RightToWork

    “Do we really want to reinforce that stereotype by supporting a man with racist, homophobic and misogynistic views, just because he uses the right buzzwords and tosses us the occasional shout out?”

    I hope you’re relying on something more than decades-old newsletters to make these statements, since the 9 objectionable articles were written in sequence by a man named James B. Powell. If not, this post is borderline libelous. Why even mention Stormfront? He can’t help who goes out and supports him. Ron Paul has publicly spoken out against such organizations and has disavowed them and racism generally. What more do you want him to do?

    Does this sound like a racist man to you?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2z2LQMx9KY

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  2. RightToWork

    “I based racist on his position to repeal the Civil Rights Act”

    Oh please. This is simply the libertarian position that people should be free to hire whomever they want. It’s not “racism.” I hold the same position and I am fiercely against racism.

    “misogynist because of his stance on women’s reproductive rights”

    Incredibly weak. The man is a doctor who has delivered thousands of babies and counseled thousands of women. I seriously doubt he hates women.

    “homophobic because of his actual actions, reported here”

    I read the (incredibly poorly written) linked article and “actual actions” really means third-hand accounts of how he didn’t use a bathroom owned by a gay man and pushed aside a gay man’s hand (who was a friend of Paul’s, according to the same account).

    “As for Stormfront, doesn’t it bother reasonable people that a neo-Nazi organization supports Paul and his policies?”

    It shouldn’t. He can’t do anything about who supports him. Again, what do you want him to do? He has disavowed racism and racist groups – you are not correct on that. Obama has all kinds of whacko supporters as well.

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  3. Jake Paris

    RTW:
    “This is simply the libertarian position that people should be free to hire whomever they want.”

    So libertarians hold the view that civil rights prevent employers from hiring whomever they want? How so exactly? I’d like you to state your case for me, because this is sincerely not an argument I’ve come across before.

    As for Mr. Paul’s view on a woman’s right to choose, it does not logically follow that just because someone is a medical professional that they are automatically in favor of those rights. In fact, you may recall that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has been an extremely vocal in his opposition of a woman’s right to choose — and he is indeed a medical doctor as well. The two are not directly linked in any causal manner.

    Lastly, the fact of the matter is that back when President Obama was running for office, he was quite literally publicly forced to repudiate and disavow nearly all of those so-called “whacko” supporters the press picked up on. Mr. Paul certainly CAN do something about a neo-nazi or white supremacist group supporting him — he can do what Mr. Obama did time and time again — he can say that he doesn’t agree with their views and does not seek their support. Wouldn’t you do the same if you had a similar group publicly supporting you?

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  4. Adrift

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article! I used to like Paul, but clearly he has some seriously worrying aspects to him. I wish I could Frankenstein together a good candidate out of all those running, left and right. For now, I feel like I am faced with the South Park choice: a giant douche or a turd sandwich. Or in this case a bunch of douches and sandwiches. Oh, well.

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  5. RightToWork

    “So libertarians hold the view that civil rights prevent employers from hiring whomever they want? How so exactly? I’d like you to state your case for me, because this is sincerely not an argument I’ve come across before.”

    That’s exactly what Civil Rights statutes do. They prevent certain employment practices that are deemed discriminatory or having a disparate impact on various groups of people. People unfamiliar with Title VII don’t realize that it also prohibits a variety of screening tools employers use as well, such as written tests, because minorities statistically do worse. Title VII lawsuits are some of the most difficult to defend because of the unique burden shifting framework that requires only a prima facie showing by the plaintiff and then actually requires the employer to prove that they did not discriminate. Civil Rights suits are almost always a losing proposition to defend because they cost more than settling, so most defendants hand the plaintiff 40k just to go away. This and the unusual element of forcing the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees (the reverse is not true) has led to a considerable cottage industry of plaintiff’s attorneys. The consistent libertarian position is to oppose government interference with freedom of contract in this way, and for the vast majority, it has nothing to do with racism.

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  6. RightToWork

    “As for Mr. Paul’s view on a woman’s right to choose, it does not logically follow that just because someone is a medical professional that they are automatically in favor of those rights. In fact, you may recall that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has been an extremely vocal in his opposition of a woman’s right to choose — and he is indeed a medical doctor as well. The two are not directly linked in any causal manner.”

    Let’s talk about causal linkage – the argument being made here is essentially that if you are pro-life or simply support state’s rights to set their own abortion laws, then you are a “misogynist.” This is an irresponsible and untrue accusation to make, and it’s digusting how progressives will throw around these quite serious accusations like confetti, especially because it lessens the credibility to actual cases of racism and misogyny. According to Gallup, more Americans are now pro-life than pro-choice, so you and the author are accusing 51% of the country of being “misogynist,” including millions of American women.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/118399/more-americans-pro-life-than-pro-choice-first-time.aspx

    “Mr. Paul certainly CAN do something about a neo-nazi or white supremacist group supporting him — he can do what Mr. Obama did time and time again — he can say that he doesn’t agree with their views and does not seek their support.”

    He has said this numerous times. It isn’t his fault that progressives have an axe to grind with libertarians and will use even the flimsiest arguments to label them as racist. Look at what he said in this New York Times article:

    “The white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed. “I wouldn’t be happy with that,” Mr. Paul said in an interview Friday when asked about getting help from volunteers with anti-Jewish or antiblack views. But he did not disavow their support. “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say,” said Mr. Paul, who is now running strong in Iowa for the Republican nomination.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/politics/ron-paul-disowns-extremists-views-but-doesnt-disavow-the-support.html

    Seriously? That’s not good enough for you? I think he made his position on that very clear to anyone who isn’t actively trying to tar him.

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  7. PinkHatLib

    “Paul’s concept of freedom does not include a woman’s right to choose, many forms of birth control or laws that protect freedom, like the 1964 Civil Rights Act… In fact, there is plenty of evidence that Ron Paul may be a closeted Christian Fundamentalist of the worst kind.”

    I’m with RTW on this one. Holding that federal government has no role and having personal objections to abortion doesn’t make one a racist, misogynist homophobe.

    Hmmm, let’s try this one… Obama worked for a community organization that was associated with Saul Alinsky. Alinsky was reported to be under communist influence. Ergo, Obama is a communist. “Plenty of evidence” there, eh? Case closed!

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  8. Jake Paris

    RTW: You definitely have a point here. I agree fully that just because someone doesn’t support a specific policy stance, that doesn’t mean they are evil, racist, bigoted, misogynist, or anything else — all it means is that they don’t support a specific policy stance. So when I say Mr. Paul doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose, all I mean is that. He is “Anti-choice” for lack of a better terminology in my mind.
    I have some significant problems with Gallup polling, which almost always trends more conservative than most other polls in the country — and you’ve always got to ask how they ask their questions, and in what order. That said, it’s still a very contentious issue and it’s clear the country isn’t unified in either camp — and as you say, both sides need to be careful from labeling each other as “baby killers” and “woman haters” and such, because it detracts from the more meaningful debate about which rights and whose rights and at what time those rights are protected under the law.
    As for the white supremacist stuff? I’m just applying the same standard to Mr. Paul that was applied to Mr. Obama during his campaign. It wasn’t enough for him to say that he didn’t hold anti-white views or even the basic assertion that he is a United States Citizen and a Christian — many media outlets forced him to “repudiate” any of the foul people who might have tried to associate themselves with him. I’m fine with a single standard being applied to all political candidates — but what’s good for the sitting President should be good for a presidential candidate, no?
    I obviously need to do some more reading on Title VII — if nothing else, you’ve proved to me that I don’t know enough about the law behind the issue to intelligently argue my point of view. I’m sure we’ll get around to discussing the Civil Rights Act and Title VII again if you (hopefully) stick around on this blog :)

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  9. PinkHatLib

    I was thinking about how myopic it is to view blind support for the Civil Rights Act as a litmus test for racism. What occurred to me is that there are significant other concerns about institutionalized racism where Paul is the only candidate (Democrat or Republican) on the progressive side of the issue.

    Paul explained that while he supports the fact that the [Civil Rights Act] repealed the notorious Jim Crow laws, which forced racial segregation, he believes it is the government, not the people, that causes racial tensions by passing overreaching laws that institutionalize slavery and segregation. Today’s race problems, he said, result from the war on drugs, the flawed U.S. court system and the military.
    “The real problem we face today is the discrimination in our court system, the war on drugs. Just think of how biased that is against the minorities,” he said. “They go into prison much way out of proportion to their numbers. They get the death penalty out of proportion with their numbers. And if you look at what minorities suffer in ordinary wars, whether there’s a draft or no draft, they suffer much out of proposition. So those are the kind of discrimination that have to be dealt with, but you don’t ever want to undermine the principle of private property and private choices in order to solve some of these problems.”

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  10. RightToWork

    Pinkhat – At the risk of sounding elitist, most people are practically incapable of distinguishing between support of freedom to take an action and support of the action itself. This is a recurring difficulty for politicians and supporters of various individual freedoms because it lends itself so easily to malicious speculation and talking points for their opponents. This occurs with conservative, libertarian, progressive, and other types of causes, e.g., “If you vote against the Patriot Act, then you wan to leave us vulnerable to terrorists.”

    Most people on some level understand that support of freedom of speech means allowing others to say things that you don’t like, but when it comes to things like the Civil Rights Act, the arguments become quite technical in nature and it’s so much easier to just call people like Paul racists. What I have learned from experience – and Paul does a miserable job of this – is that it is helpful to always spell out explicitly *why* you oppose something, or use qualifying statements that avoid the creation of unfavorable sound bytes for the media and opposition rags. I have also learned to never, under any circumstances, discuss anything having to do with child pornography laws – ever. It’s way too emotionally charged and I’ve been burned way too many times in those discussions by people who don’t understand the specific legal points I’m trying to make – much better to just stay away entirely. In that vein, I wish Ron Paul would stay away from his “we don’t get attacked because of our freedoms” talking points, even though I agree with most of them. He’s not going to change many minds with that, and it obscures his more important messages.

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  11. PinkHatLib

    Yes, you should read “Don’t Thnk of an Elephant” sometime. Among the points made…
    – Framing always trumps facts
    – Responding in your opponents frame just reenforces it (e.g. we don’t get attacked because of our freedoms)

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