Ron Paul Versus the Enemies of Reason
(The New American) -- by Jack Kerwick --
Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin is an outspoken critic of Congressman Ron Paul. Levin labors tirelessly to convince the members of his audience that Paul suffers from a condition of poverty that has ravaged his intellect no less than his moral character. Paul is no kind of conservative, “the Great One” informs us: besides advocating a foreign policy that is supposedly as idiotic in conception as it promises to be ruinous in effect, Ron Paul is an “anti-Semite.”...
When the 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant alluded to “misology,” it was the hatred of reason to which he referred. Well, if misology is the hatred of reason, then “the misologist” is the person who despises reason. Levin, I contend, represents a sizable number of self-proclaimed “conservatives” who are pathological misologists when it comes to Ron Paul.
Levin and company insist that they favor “limited government.” Levin in particular (to his credit) never misses a moment to show that our current federal government is light years away from the government envisioned and ratified by our country’s founders. This is the same person, mind you, who authored an immensely successful book, Liberty versus Tyranny, a work within which he conveys an impassioned defense of the constitutional republic bequeathed to us from our forbearers while launching an unrelenting attack against all “statists” — i.e. the advocates of “Big government.” Any remotely reasonable person can only scratch his head and wonder why an “anti-Statist” like Levin would become as enraged as he does with, of all people, someone like Ron Paul, a person who is even more vehemently “anti-Statist” than Levin himself.
It is obvious to anyone who knows anything at all about Levin and the neoconservative-dominated Republican Party with which he identifies that above and beyond anything else, it is Paul’s resolute disavowal of America’s foreign policy that so upsets them. Long before the war in Iraq became as wildly unpopular with the country as it eventually did, Paul was sounding the alarm against what he and many others call “interventionism,” a doctrine that, presupposing as it does “the exceptional” character of America, calls for it to assert itself militarily into societies around the world for the sake of transforming them into “democracies.” Paul argues that not only is this project of exporting “Democracy” financially unsustainable, it is as well immoral and unconstitutional.
This alone is sufficient to make Paul persona non grata among establishment Republicans like Levin. But when Paul then failed to treat the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran with a degree of concern that Levin and others think is insufficient, he may as well have painted a target on his back for them.
Still, even if one disagrees with Ron Paul on these matters, even if one thinks that he is as wrong headed as anyone can be, the reaction of the Levins of the world to his position can only be judged unreasonable.
Although many champions of “limited government” seem to forget this, the military — the Army, the Navy, the Marines, and the Air Force — is a feature of the federal government. All military personnel, that is, are government employees. Moreover, the military is as much an object of government spending as Social Security and Medicare, and together these three government programs consume the vast majority of our federal expenditures. So, that Ron Paul and others of his ilk should talk about utilizing our military in a more cost-efficient way — even if this requires cuts in “defense spending”—is what we should expect from anyone who values a strong, but more limited, government.
To hear Levin, one could be forgiven for thinking that Ron Paul favored abolishing the military. But Paul has never suggested any such thing. Rather, it is precisely because of his belief in a strong national defense that he staunchly rejects the nation-building enterprise upon which Republicans have embarked the nation. This enterprise is an exercise in “social engineering” writ large. As such, in addition to being economically infeasible, morally dubious, and inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, it is as well a profound affront to the sensibilities of the conservative imagination as it has known itself over the last couple of centuries...
First, if they really think that the federal government should confine itself to the minimal set of functions specified by the U.S. Constitution, then, since Ron Paul is arguing for nothing more or less than just that, we must ask: From whence comes the venomous rage that they routinely unleash upon him? It is understandable and perhaps unavoidable that there should be quarrels over interpretative issues, but when such disputes transpire between those who allegedly share the same desires regarding the general size and scope of government, differences of opinion should never be as radical, and even total, as the response of Paul’s detractors would lead us to believe they are.
What is it about Paul’s vision of America, a vision in which “limited government” figures centrally, that so frightens Levin and his fellow neoconservative Republicans?
Second, it was during George W. Bush’s tenure as President that Iran began pursuing a nuclear weapon. We knew this then. Bush is widely heralded by Levin and neoconservatives generally as a great “wartime” president. But if this commander-in-chief extraordinaire did nothing to impede Iran’s engagements, if his invasions of two Middle Eastern countries not only did nothing to deter this, but perhaps even facilitated Iran’s determination to arm itself, then why is Paul’s position so unacceptable? How is it any worse, practically speaking, than that of Bush’s? Furthermore, so far, in spite of some Republican rhetoric of the unacceptability of a nuclear armed Iran, I don’t recall anyone stating specifically the course of action that they would like to take to stop Iran’s pursuits. What, then, we are compelled to ask Levin, would a President Perry or a President Romney or even a President Santorum do vis-à-vis Iran that a President Paul would not?...MORE...LINK