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June 6, 2007

Every Man for Himself?

by Stephen Littau

Nick, who responded to Doug’s recent post made some great points and some which I disagreed with. I was going to respond to the original post’s thread, but as my response became longer and longer, I thought it should be a stand alone post.

Here’s what Nick had to say:

Ron Paul is dead wrong on the islamofascism matter, but I simply don’t care.

Right now I see us at a crossroads…do we go further down the Euro-style nanny state road? Or do we turn back and recognize liberty for what it is?

Ron Paul manages to piss me off everytime he starts saying there’s no threat in the middle east. A lot.

Islam was founded by a violent intolerant man, and anytime an islamic government (instead of a secular government of islamic people) is allowed to flourish, these same traits will rise again. Until the middle east takes a page from Ataturk, it will always be a hotbed of intolerant violence. Always. It can be argued that we’ve given them *excuses* to act the way they want to, but that’s something entirely different.

Anyone with any understanding of history knows that ‘Palestine’ was created purely as an anti-Israel propaganda tool.

But Ron Paul is still the only candidate I’d vote for. What I want to know is why they didn’t ask the DOCTOR about healthcare reform (Giuliani gave a great answer by the way). Why didn’t they ask him about anything else?

I figure a lot of us find his Iraq War answers distasteful, but he can win a LOT of friends with his talk of domestic problems. And the domestic thing is the ONLY thing i’m looking at right now.

I agree with Nick: if Ron Paul is going to be in the race, I wish he would focus on domestic issues. I’m not saying that he should go against his principled anti-war beliefs (which is more than what I can say about the unprincipled and opportunistic anti-war candidates on the left) but he really isn’t saying anything all that much different than anyone else who opposes the war.

I think his assessment of Islam is spot on as well. There’s a danger with all religions becoming extreme and militant; right now Islam is the religion which has the most extreme elements and a significant threat to our liberty.

I wish I could focus on Ron Paul’s domestic agenda and ignore his naiveté about external threats to our way of life. I think it’s this issue which is keeping him from having more wide spread support because I think many rank and file Republicans are libertarian at heart on the domestic side. If there was such a candidate who would advocate Paul’s domestic policies and a more effective foreign policy than the current administration, I would support that candidate in a heartbeat.

I’m beginning to contemplate more of a “survivalist” attitude as it relates to Islamic terrorism. Maybe its time to adopt an “every man for himself” policy? We know the government cannot or will not defend us from every threat, whether foreign or domestic. Hell, far too often the threat comes from the government itself! Truthfully, the first and last responsibility of self defense belongs to the individual. This is why the right to bear arms is so critically important and why every effort to limit the individual’s access to firearms should be resisted at every turn.

What are the chances of my family, friends, or me being a victim of terrorism anyway? Perhaps I should adopt the “it doesn’t affect me” attitude of one of my readers (Josh) who couldn’t care less about what would happen to the Iraqis if coalition forces suddenly left Iraq in its current state. Some believe that al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups will bring their fight back to American soil if such a withdrawal from Iraq were to take place. I happen to think there is some validity to that theory. But so what? If the next attack happens in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, or anywhere but my back yard…it’s not my problem right?

I’m not quite to that point yet. I still care too much about my fellow man. But if I ever do decide to embrace this “every man for himself” approach, Ron Paul will have my full support.

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27 Comments

  1. >> I wish I could focus on Ron Paul’s domestic agenda and ignore his naiveté about external threats to our way of life. I think it’s this issue which is keeping him from having more wide spread support because I think many rank and file Republicans are libertarian at heart on the domestic side

    I agree with your post, and I think the above statement is quite true, except for one thing. I don’t think Ron is naive about external threats. That is giving him way too much credit. No serious person could possibly dismiss external threats in this way. I didn’t see the debate, but I understand that he even defended Iran. Since he cannot be intellectually honest, and have the views he does, I think he is must be rooting for the bad guys.

    Someone who only believes in the right to life for americans doesn’t really believe in the right to life, even for americans.

    Comment by Gunnar — June 6, 2007 @ 2:34 pm
  2. It will be difficult for Ron Paul to discuss his domestic agenda in any of these debates. He has to answer what questions he is given in a very short time, and they are giving him fewer questions and less time than the other candidates.

    However, you will find at my site and all over the Internet, particularly at the Lew Rockwell site, many essays, speeches, YouTube videos, mp3 files, etc, from which you can learn a lot about his domestic policies. I encourage anyone to check them out. One thing that separates Ron Paul from the pack is how he fully discloses his positions on everything, and how he always votes consistent with what he says he believes in.

    Also, I continue to add to a catagory called “essential viewing”, many documentaries that, though they aren’t directly about Ron Paul, they do educate and cover the areas of his greatest concern, such as monetary reform, bringing back sound money and ending the federal income tax.

    http://www.citizensforronpaul.org

    Comment by Joe Naab — June 6, 2007 @ 2:35 pm
  3. I don’t think Ron is naive about external threats. That is giving him way too much credit. No serious person could possibly dismiss external threats in this way. I didn’t see the debate, but I understand that he even defended Iran. Since he cannot be intellectually honest, and have the views he does, I think he is must be rooting for the bad guys.

    No, Ron Paul is just in isolationist libertarian lalaland. A place many libertarians were in even post 9/11. Perhaps it was merely perception, but I always felt my interventionist viewpoint was unpopular with other libertarians.

    He’s got his head on straight about border control, which a lot of other libertarians do not, or at least did not.

    The problem is that a lot of libertarians suffer from basing foreign policy on the notion that other nations will have a similar outlook.

    Comment by Nick — June 6, 2007 @ 2:49 pm
  4. Stephen,

    I agree with you. I’d rather see Ron Paul talking about domestic issues than foreign policy, but I think the current political climate makes that unlikely.

    It’s becoming exceedingly clear that the Iraq War and what to do about it will be the dominant issue in the 2008 Presidential race.

    That, combined with the fact that Paul takes a position on the war that differs from every other Republican candidate for President, makes it inevitable that his statements on foreign policy are what the media is paying attention to.

    Think of it this way — do you think he would’ve gotten the media attention he has since the second debate if the Iraq War didn’t exist ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — June 6, 2007 @ 2:57 pm
  5. Doug,

    do you think he would’ve gotten the media attention he has since the second debate if the Iraq War didn’t exist ?

    The media attention he’s been getting is akin to the attention that Dennis Kucinich gets due to his war stands. He’s treated as a freak show and not a serious candidate by the media.

    Is the media attention that Paul has gotten helpful to the cause of liberty?

    Comment by Kevin — June 6, 2007 @ 3:02 pm
  6. “Anyone with any understanding of history knows that ‘Palestine’ was created purely as an anti-Israel propaganda tool.”

    Get your facts right idiot. Palestine’s existence/creation (and by existence I dont mean a US approval stamp to legitimize its existence) was long before creation of state of Israel 1948 (US approval and all). Maybe you’ll be oevrjoyed if I camped in your house and claimed that a holy book says its ok to do so.

    And btw, christianity and islam started off the same way – violent,horribly proselytizing and intolerent towards other religions. Currently the only difference is that christianity doesnt entirely suscribe to the violent part.

    Comment by bar — June 6, 2007 @ 3:15 pm
  7. Is the media attention that Paul has gotten helpful to the cause of liberty?

    You might disagree, but I think it has been.

    Given the choice between the cause of liberty being associated with Ron Paul and it being associated with phony libertarians like Rudy Giuliani, the choice is rather obvious to me.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — June 6, 2007 @ 3:21 pm
  8. I wish I could focus on Ron Paul’s domestic agenda and ignore his naiveté about external threats to our way of life. I think it’s this issue which is keeping him from having more wide spread support because I think many rank and file Republicans are libertarian at heart on the domestic side. If there was such a candidate who would advocate Paul’s domestic policies and a more effective foreign policy than the current administration, I would support that candidate in a heartbeat.

    Why does a strong position against Islamic Terror necessarily mean an interventionist foreign policy ?

    Right now, I can’t think of anything that the United States is doing in Iraq that is actually helping win the War on Islamofacsism.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — June 6, 2007 @ 3:23 pm
  9. And btw, christianity and islam started off the same way – violent,horribly proselytizing and intolerent towards other religions. Currently the only difference is that christianity doesnt entirely suscribe to the violent part.

    Actually, there were plenty of differences between the Early Christianity and Islam. The main one being that, very early on, there was a clear distinction between Church and State in the West. There has never been such a distinction in Islam.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — June 6, 2007 @ 3:25 pm
  10. Doug, I’d have to agree with you that the media attention has been helpful.

    Without his anti-war stance I doubt he’d even get the undeservingly meager attention he’s gotten.

    But I think its’ most important role is as a way to get to know his policies better. His disagreement with the Iraq War is the least of the things which make him unique.

    I have a feeling the online community will help people learn more about him and what makes him different from the other candidates. I just wish the mainstream media would take a cue from them.

    His daily show clip had a LOT of domestic policy stuff in it. That’s the way he needs to trend if he’s going to get votes.

    I see people are finally talking about what free market healthcare reform means and how its different from the system we have today. Thank god. I’ve only been stumping about that for what? three years now?

    That’s what’s going to get noticed. A lot of people right now have a misguided view of what the free market is, what the constitution is, and what liberty is. Paul has the clarity of speech and the demeanor to get people to listen to him on those issues.

    Comment by Nick — June 6, 2007 @ 3:30 pm
  11. On Kevin’s liveblog of the first debate, I said that Ron Paul was focusing too much on the war. He’d take a question about taxes and turn it into an anti-war rant. I also think he’s lining himself up as a single-issue anti-war candidate, and if he doesn’t expand his rhetoric to other small-government topics, he’ll have a tough time getting the support of the disaffected Republicans needed to give him a shot.

    There are some people who would support him in spite of his anti-war views if they knew his other positions. He’s not doing a good enough job, IMHO, of highlighting those positions.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — June 6, 2007 @ 3:41 pm
  12. “Actually, there were plenty of differences between the Early Christianity and Islam. The main one being that, very early on, there was a clear distinction between Church and State in the West. There has never been such a distinction in Islam”

    Early christianity differenciated between state and church eh? – hmm. I guess a powerful church steering western political stances/issues in most of known history is something I made up in my mind.

    Most of western foreign policies are skewed. They are based on obtaining power through dividing nations, creating conflicts and depleting someone else’s natural resources. What long term good can ever come out of such an ideaology? You can disguise that motive with “spreading freedom” banner, but the ppl affected by it arent that stupid.

    Non-intervention is something that is hard to practice- especially when personal gain and enormous power are at stake. These terrorists are brainwashed to fight “injustice” and israeli “occupance” of what has been their land. I doubt they blow themselves up because they find short skirts, drive-thru fast food and 300+ tv channels offensive.

    Comment by bar — June 6, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
  13. I don’t see the problem. Congress can declare war. In that situation he would be a puppet to do Congresses bidding. I’d like Congress to declare war for now on and take responsibility for it’s actions.

    Why don’t you critique the other Candidates on their Pro-War stance to see if they know what the hell they are talking about?

    I want one of those 4 Star Generals that rejected being Bush’s war czar to run if we are going to continue interventionism.

    Either the Islamic fascist will get us or it will be a Soviet style government at home that will. In the Primary I’m going to vote for liberty rather than perceived temporary security.

    Comment by uhm — June 6, 2007 @ 4:08 pm
  14. Nick,

    No, Ron Paul is just in isolationist libertarian lalaland. A place many libertarians were in even post 9/11. Perhaps it was merely perception, but I always felt my interventionist viewpoint was unpopular with other libertarians.

    Although interventionist and non-interventionist are antonyms, interventionist and isolationist are not. Many confuse Ron Paul’s position as isolationist when it is non-interventionist. This is a subtlety that is lost on many WOT champions. Just because RP wants to pull our troops out doesn’t mean that he is a “do nothing” isolationist. RP just wants to follow the Constitution. That means that Congress must declare war or bring our troops home. We know that will never happen so we must bring our troops home. That’s what the Constitution says.

    On the other hand there are other things RP could and should do to fight the WOT. He supports the hunt for Osama and tried to get Congress to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal against those responsible for 911. Unfortunatly Congress was more interested in passing the buck and gave the decision to goto war to the President so that they would have plausable deniability.

    Unfortunatly our invasion/occupation has drawn many terrorists/insurgents into Iraq and been a great recruitment tool for the terrorist ranks. We have “mismanaged” the war and really screwed things up. We being the Republican party. Our zeal to have leverage against liberals with the WOT let us stay the course for so long a time that we no longer can fix things in a civilized manner. Now it would require us to “get mideval on there ass” which we shouldn’t and won’t do.

    Comment by Norm Nelson — June 6, 2007 @ 5:03 pm
  15. I’m beginning to contemplate more of a “survivalist” attitude as it relates to Islamic terrorism. Maybe its time to adopt an “every man for himself” policy? We know the government cannot or will not defend us from every threat, whether foreign or domestic. Hell, far too often the threat comes from the government itself! Truthfully, the first and last responsibility of self defense belongs to the individual. This is why the right to bear arms is so critically important and why every effort to limit the individual’s access to firearms should be resisted at every turn.

    Watch it Stephen… I sense a transition here… You’re becoming a radical!

    Seriously, though, I think you answered your own question. The responsibility of self defense is on the individual. The government can only give us the illusion of safety, they have neither the resources nor the competence to provide the real thing. And they demand huge swaths of liberty in order to provide that illusion.

    It took me a long time to see it, but I don’t see anything the government has done as making this situation better. I personally believe that if we had executed the war in a better fashion, it might have been a net positive for our security. But in typical fashion, our government has created a situation that’s far worse than if we’d never gotten into Iraq in the first place.

    Not only are they not capable of protecting us, the actions they’re taking are actually making the situation worse, and have been for the last 60 years. Don’t fall into the classic trap of assuming that the stated goals of the war will be achieved. It’s the same trap that those on the left fall into, when they think that the promised results politicians have for a social program will actually be realized.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — June 6, 2007 @ 5:16 pm
  16. Brad:

    “Watch it Stephen… I sense a transition here… You’re becoming a radical!”

    Isn’t that a requirement for being a contributor to The Liberty Papers? :)

    Comment by Stephen Littau — June 6, 2007 @ 5:32 pm
  17. All I can figure is that this website if filled with naive 20 somethings. Trust me when I say this is the last time you will see a Ron Paul in your lifetime. It will get uglier from here on in.

    I can’t understand how a site that claims Pat Henry as their father is so mainstream, that is just lame conformity. Whether you kids like it or not, and I know you don’t which is why you pro-war folks don’t sign up to join the fight, the armed citizen, with no standing arym, is the only defense that fits the libertarian model. Otherwise, at the least, cease being cowards on the intellectual front, and state that you will trade with Lucifer, liberty for security.

    Comment by C Bowen — June 6, 2007 @ 6:56 pm
  18. Given the choice between the cause of liberty being associated with Ron Paul and it being associated with phony libertarians like Rudy Giuliani, the choice is rather obvious to me.

    Doug, that’s a false choice and you know it. Nobody in their right mind is claiming Rudy Giuliani is a libertarian.

    If given a choice between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani, I choose none of the above.

    Comment by Kevin — June 6, 2007 @ 7:00 pm
  19. “the armed citizen, with no standing arym, is the only defense that fits the libertarian model.”

    I call BS on that. It is the only defense that fits the libertarian model provided other countries are libertarian. Which is entirely different.

    Several brands of libertarianism acknowledge the need for a government and/or a standing army. Consequentialists and minarchists easily fit into this framework, as do the Founders for that matter.

    To say there is no difference between the above and mainstream conservatism is intellectual dishonesty. To say its something you disagree with is something else.

    Disagreement with you based on pragmatism does not make one naive. I can’t speak for the others, but my stance on the need to do something in the middle east is one that is due to direct experience and a whole lot of learning.

    Comment by Nick — June 6, 2007 @ 7:11 pm
  20. Gunnar, watch the debate on Youtube or something, so that you will know what you are talking about. Ron Paul did not defend Iran. Confused people, like Rudy G. seem to have extreme difficulty confusing explanations for events and ideologies with defending them, or blaming the victims, which Ron Paul has not done.

    Take a step back and look at the big picture.

    Comment by Paul — June 7, 2007 @ 12:51 am
  21. [...] debate — sounding even more libertarian than libertarian Ron Paul. In fact the audience didn’t have a chance to listen to Ron Paul’s position on Health Care. And despite the fact that many would like to blame the [...]

    Pingback by It looks obvious » Blog Archive » Trapped in a corner — June 7, 2007 @ 10:08 am
  22. The only issue that matters at this time is the war and it will continue to be the only issue that matters until it is over.

    Comment by Chris S — June 7, 2007 @ 12:28 pm
  23. Nick;

    If you want me to pay for what you want to do in the Middle East, and don’t see a problem with liberatarianism demonstrates a lack of philosphical discipline that I cannot pretend to over come in this setting. We are reduced to mere politics, and swaying the mob with tales of annecedotal imporatance, where you learned the Truth, and thus must, albeit regretfully, steal from me to pursue your scheme.

    Comment by C Bowen — June 7, 2007 @ 7:20 pm
  24. Ron Paul stated that he did not believe Iran was a threat to our national security, and he has also stated in the past that he did not believe Iran was a threat to Israel (since Israel currently has 75+ nukes). Iran is years away from a weapon if they are even pursuing one, and much, much farther from any sort of delivery system or a weapon small enough to be snuck inside a country for use in terrorism.

    I believe Ron Paul has the best approach to keep our country safe: Kill the terrorists who attacked us (Osama), and re-evaluate our policies which contribute to people wanting to come to America to kill us. He acknowlegdes that we simply cannot, even if we needed to, police the world and remove every possible threat to America. He knows free trade and interdependence is a great deterrent to war, and that pre-emptive attacks against people who might one day have something which might be able to hurt us will only gain us far more enemies than we can deal with.

    One of Ron Paul’s best points about Iran, though, is that the same people who are telling us Iran needs to be bombed (and maybe even nuked) are the same people who lied to us before and told us to go into Iraq…

    Comment by G — June 9, 2007 @ 1:54 pm
  25. Depending on how aggressive he would be with the Letters of Marque and Reprisal, I think Ron Paul could be decent enough as far as pre-emptive strikes though.

    But I also think that to the public at large, doing nothing and waging wholesale war are somehow more palatable.

    Comment by Nick — June 9, 2007 @ 3:30 pm
  26. i wouldn’t worry about Ron Paul. he’s so down pat with understanding these simple life intrusions, ordinary citizens deem as intricate problems. ron could solve the madness with one hand tied behind his back. because we are always left out of wretched government officials advances, it always leaves us scratching our heads, wondering how did whatever happen. stacks and stacks of facade laws and double speak legalese is what really happens. a stack of a million simple lies create the illusion of intricacy and intelligence when all it is, is just a tedious job when trying to clear the lies away. these government guys ain’t no smarter than any one of us. don’t forget that. This is 2007 and we’ve been through a lot of intricate espionage type movie plots that have tweaked,groomed and heightened our awareness for identifying falsehoods. we see the plot way before the ending here in 2007. we’re just way slow at stopping the snowballing before it becomes an avalanche.

    Comment by greg porter — June 9, 2007 @ 3:59 pm
  27. >>>>>>>If there was such a candidate who would advocate Paul’s domestic policies and a more effective foreign policy than the current administration, I would support that candidate in a heartbeat.

    There is a candidate – and many people are realizing why the corporate media and their corporate sponsors smear a man for his haircuts.
    Bingo! the corporate media represents their corporate sponsors – not us – nor our best interests.
    If corporations wanted their employees to have affordable healthcare – the corporate media would be praising Edwards’ brilliant healthcare plan.

    http://johnedwards.com/about/issues

    Comment by annefrank — June 18, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

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