Glib and Sophisticated

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Constitutional Issue, Discrimination, Rep. Ron Paul
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“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
– Edmund Burke

Andrew Sullivan is at it again….he’s gone and endorsed Ron Paul who would not hesitate to take away Sullivan’s same sex marriage certificate, not to mention outlaw homosexuality if given the chance.  Sullivan appears to be defending Paul against charges of racism and his logic is a bit faulty.

He admits that Paul associated with some people with vile positions and that isn’t good.  However, he balances out this “turning of a blind eye” by holding up Paul’s character in the three presidential elections in which he has participated.  Noting that one doesn’t have to ferret out the other GOP candidates racism is small comfort.  So that’s our choice according to Sullivan–open bigots or the secret bigot?  Wow,  I am almost speechless.

Furthermore Sullivan hints that a vote for Paul would turn the GOP away from it’s aggressive foreign policy stance.  Again, Paul doesn’t just want to pull us out of other nations’ conflicts, he wants a retreat to the isolationist policies of…well….there has never been a President or time period that I can even compare to what Paul is advocating.  And finally Sullivan makes the argument that too many people confuse the libertarians stance on allowing people to do things with the acts of what other people actually do.  And this is the key to his entire argument…it’s a common defense of libertarianism itself.

Here’s a brief example.  Ron Paul believes that the states should not be subject to judicial review on the federal level.  If the states choose to act tyrannically by passing laws that discriminate against minorities, women, gays, etc. Sullivan is arguing that you can’t blame Paul for removing judicial review, the last remedy that we have as Americans to stop local and state tyranny.

Technically he’s right. Ron Paul did not actually DO the tyrannical acts and although he might have facilitated the environment that allowed that to happen, Sullivan believes he cannot be held responsible because Paul’s position is a “philosophical position”.  By using the phrase “philosophical position” Sullivan is implying that Paul is standing on principle and he is absolutely correct.  More importantly Sullivan is also implying that because he is standing on principle, Paul’s intent is beneficent.  And that may be true too, but remember its very hard to read someone’s intent….as any criminal prosecutor can tell you, you can’t read people’s minds or hearts.  The only thing we have to go on to judge intent is their individual behavior.

But we’re not talking about the law.  We’re talking about right and wrong in the very real world.  When trying to determine if something is the right thing to do, looking at your intent is important but so is looking at the probable consequences.  Since we see states and governors already passing legislation that outlaw gay marriage, restrict voter rights, treat state employees like serfs, bust up unions, interfere between women and their doctors, discriminate against minorities, etc, all while STILL under federal judicial review, the likelihood that many of these things would be even worse if the states WEREN’T under judicial review is a very real possibility.

So, I have to call Sullivan’s BS here.   If you’re interested here is the email I sent to Sullivan, which I am sure he will not post.


In re: to the post titled “The Circumstantial Evidence Against Paul” you said:

“Much of the left and a great deal of the right has no interest in putting liberty before justice. But I do not believe that that philosophical position renders one a bigot.”

True the philosophical position does not render one a bigot.  However, the actual outcome of putting such a position into action more often than not results in the believer’s inaction to stop bigotry (i.e., an omission), which is an argument you made in the previous paragraph –“…inherently indifferent to injustice (although it may often, in practice be).  Your own logic is defeats your thesis.

So you’re wrong….the position can and often does render one as a bigot.  From an ethical standpoint we get no free passes by saying but “it’s only my philosophical position” when actual people are being hurt in reality by one’s inaction.  You’re making too fine a distinction on this point (not to mention a glib one), which libertarians often do (and often from their cozy offices, living rooms, etc).  The rest of us cannot afford to be as “sophisticated and philosophical” and we certainly can’t afford to be glib.

Tina M. Rhodes, a daily reader
  1. Michael says:

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. You are great. Michael.

  2. […] all Libertarian policy suggestions that will result in foreseeable and probable bad outcomes.  Here’s an example where I took on Ron Paul’s suggestions last […]

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