I started Ron Paul's Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. In this post, I'll comment on select sections of the book that I have read so far.
On page xii, Paul says: "To believe in liberty is not to believe in any
particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust the spontaneous
order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition
and human cooperation." I, however, do believe in a particular social
and economic outcome, in that I desire an economy where all people
prosper, at least enough to meet their needs. And I think that
libertarians do, too, since they argue that libertarianism is best for
society, in terms of bringing costs down and giving people the
opportunity to prosper. But I also get the impression that they think
that people should suffer the consequences of their mistakes (i.e., a
bad investment, signing a sub-prime mortgage, etc.). On some level, I
agree, for that is what taking responsibility is all about. But I also
believe in a society where people are able to recover from their
Abortion: This chapter was a little
muddled, in my opinion. On the one hand, Ron Paul criticizes Roe vs.
Wade because he thinks that "the federal government has a responsibility
to protect life" (page 2). On the other hand, he asserts that the
states have the authority to make criminal law, and so he is for the
states deciding their own abortion policy rather than a federal policy.
And yet, he appears to be open to a constitutional amendment banning
Ron Paul made good points about the sanctity of life and
how it's absurd that doctors have been charged with murder if the baby
dies after being born, and yet that same doctor is legally allowed to
kill the baby before its birth. Moreover, Paul is a consistent
pro-lifer in that he also criticizes war and capital punishment, not
just abortion. I had an issue with Paul's criticism on page 9 of
"government-run programs where medical care is rationed for economic or
social reasons that place relative value on life." I'd heartily applaud
Paul here if he also criticized private health care plans that ration
care and place relative value on life. Rationing is problematic
regardless of who does it: the government or an HMO.
Paul in this chapter criticizes the government policy of assassinating
people, even American citizens, in fighting the War on Terror. Does Ron
Paul believe that terror is a threat? I had my doubts while I was
reading this. He says on page 12 that "It appears that many people in
government want us to believe that the greater danger is coming from
people like the underwear bomber rather than from our own government."
But Paul does believe that something should be done about
terrorists, for he notes on page 13 that "The perpetrators of the first
Twin Towers bombing in 1993 were arrested, tried in New York City, and
sentenced to life in prison." For Paul, those who commit acts of terror
should be prosecuted in civilian courts. Paul also says on page 14
that the Bill of Rights does not just apply to U.S. citizens, for "The
Constitution protects 'persons,' not just 'citizens.'" I think that
Paul makes a good case that the War on Terror gives the government
frightening powers, but I also believe that there should be a policy of
preventing acts of terror, not just prosecuting the terrorists after the
acts of terror are done. Paul has a chapter later in the book on
terrorism, so perhaps he addresses this issue there.
Campaign Finance Reform: Paul
criticizes campaign finance laws such as McCain-Feingold as an attack
on free-speech. He does not buy the argument that the First Amendment
does not apply to corporations, for corporations consist of individuals,
plus even many media outlets (such as CNN) are corporations, and many
would agree that setting limits on what CNN says would infringe on free
speech. Paul also says that, if the government were doing less, special
interests would not be trying as hard to buy candidates. I think that
campaign finance reform is important because I want for the government
to be on the side of the people rather than the special interests. But I
thought that Paul made a good argument against the claim that the First
Amendment does not apply to corporations.
Believe truth! Shun error!
5 hours ago