Monday, September 5, 2011

Ron Paul Supporters: Fighting Mad!

Related Post: Game Time: Name One Leading Country That Follows the Tea Party Model of Government

Huffington Post has reprinted my article, Five Reasons Why Ron Paul Should Never Become President. Although the article generated buzz on Dissenting Justice, it has caused quite a stir at Huffington. Over 450 persons, primarily fans of Paul, have expressed their opinion on the article (and the number of posts grows even as I complete this essay).

The responses generally fall into the following categories:

1. "This article is garbage, horrible, disgusting, terrible, blah blah blah blah blah."
2. This article completely misrepresents Paul (without citing to one word in the article that is an actual misrepresentation).
3. Paul does not oppose abortion; he just wants it to be decided by the states.
4. Paul is not a racist. He opposes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it is unconstitutional. Besides, it is no longer needed.

These posts are pretty silly. The first two categories are completely nonsubstantive. Perhaps these individuals are frustrated beyond all reason because it is highly unlikely that Paul, who first ran for president in 1988, will come close to winning the GOP nomination in 2012.

The third category distorts my blog post. Regardless of Paul's personal views on abortion, his belief that only the states should decide the issue would transform abortion from a constitutional right (which it presently is) and turn it into an option that women could exercise only subject to the laws in her state.

By contrast, constitutional rights apply throughout the country; states do not get to limit or expand them. Leaving this issue to the states implicitly means that it would no longer be a constitutionally protected right. There is no way to dispute this. It is a completely accurate statement of constitutional law.

The fourth category is dead wrong on the law. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the civil rights legislation. Furthermore, Paul's arguments are simply a modern rehashing of the Dixiecrats' views in the 1960s -- regardless of whether he is a bigot or not. Also, many studies demonstrate that racial discrimination in employment continues -- despite the legislation. Removing it would free companies to do so without a legal deterrent. Finally, if the legislation is unnecessary, then why repeal it? If companies are no longer discriminating, then they should not worry about the existence of the law.

To their credit, other individuals (only a few) agree that the blog post fairly presents Paul's past statements. Nevertheless, they say this is precisely why they support him. In other words, they agree with Paul's positions on the issues without accusing me of some conspiracy to misportray him. At least these individuals are intellectually honest. I commend them.

To the rest: thanks for bringing attention to the article. As a result of your efforts, more folks than I ever expected have now read the article. Many have emailed me and thanked me for the post. Now, a lot more people have a clearer understanding of Paul and his ideas. I suspect a lot of them will also decline to vote for him.

Update: There is one additional strand of analysis from Paul supporters: As president, Paul could not implement many of his ideas that you find threatening because the president cannot enact or repeal legislation.

This is probably one of the most troublesome -- but easily refuted -- claims. Of course presidents cannot enact or repeal legislation. Nonetheless, they are influential in the legislative process. Conservatives know this; they describe the healthcare legislation as "Obamacare," rather than Congress-care.

Furthermore, the president is the legal head of the executive agencies. The agencies have a tremendous amount of power to interpret and execute federal statutes. Thus, Paul's view of statutory enactments and constitutional text is extraordinarily important. This is such a basic part of our political system. I am shocked that Paul's supporters would even make this style of argument.


Louis Nardozi said...

Yeah, I see you didn't mention MY comment.
Talk about intellectual dishonest.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

A bit narcissistic? I was supposed to mention you specifically out of 500 different posts? Interesting. What did you say? If you commented prior to 2am last night, I'm sure I already replied. But, honestly, I have no idea who you are.....

AMY said...

I still love Ron Paul. He believes in the individual. If more people could stand on their own we wouldn't need any external government to make decisions for us. It's too disconnected. But, I see what you mean Darren. If people don't change themselves in a deep way, then Ron Paul's strategies would go to waste or make things much worse. People have to become responsible, accountable. Pay attention to what you say and do and OWN it. BECOME someone who does not need governing.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Even the people who claim they "stand on their own" actually rely on society in two ways: They take advantage of the decisions made by prior generations; also, they take advantage of local, state and federal policies that benefit them.

Could you defend yourself from a foreign invader? Do you honestly think the money you pay in taxes could supply a 24-hour defense service for your home? Do you have kids? Do you send them to public school? Did you ever get a scholarship? Did you drive on an interstate highway? Have you flown on an airplane before? Did you pay the country for fighting WWII before you were born? Did you pay the country for establishing the FHA and GI bill, which likely helped your parents - or someone you know -- get a home or student loans? When your parents are 65, will they have full insurance?

We all need governing. There is no society on the planet that survives without a government. Some of them are totalitarian dictatorships. If you believe ours is, I encourage you to move to Zimbabwe for a year.

AMY said...

I respect these points. However.

I suppose I take for granted not having my mind completely STUCK in how things are.

And I'm able to dream of something else.

And a world that is not a scary or harmful place to be isn't so hard to imagine...

Many have taught me, not just public schools.

My feet can take me many places, places interstates cannot reach.

Here in America we have it pretty darn good. And we should use this advantage as a tool, at this and every crucial time, to step higher and be better and create the BEST.

"Be water." -Bruce Lee

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

If I could not dream of something else, I would not wake up everyday. I would not inspire my students to try and change the world. I would not try to improve myself. Dreaming of something else does not mean destroying the government. Can you name one great nation that has democracy, wealth, good health -- and a very limited to nonexistent central government? The reason that we departed from the type of government that Ron Paul advocates is because the Framers of the Constitution found it completely inefficient.

Also, it is great to say that your/our feet can travel beyond roads. But that does not change the fact that we need them to travel. Same with schools -- learning is perpetual, but thank good for free public education!

AMY said...


Tyler T said...

You should be honest and say you disagree with him because he threatens your lively-hood. Smaller government will mean a smaller court system. Legalized and decriminalized drugs will mean less business for you and your buddies. A government that no longer protects banksters, energy cartels and corporate cronies means less lawyers on payrolls. Less lawyers means less demand for law school. boohoo.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Tyler: I find your post so amusing. Thanks for the laughter.

I agree that the War on Drugs needs to end. But ending it at the national level won't change the fact that states incarcerate most criminals in our society. So, alas, the need for criminal defense lawyers will continue. PS: I don't teach in any of the areas you listed -- ergo, your point is beyond wrong.

WizarDave said...

You either missed my original post or you cannot answer the dilemma of your argument.

Parsed response. To see my full comment... http://jab­­tics/polit­icians/ron­-paul/resp­onse-to-a-­hit-piece/

Where have you been? The economy is the issue that will decide this election. That is why Ron Paul will (should) win.

Abortion has not been a make-or-br­eak issue for a long time.

You attack a statement of fact by calling it anecdotal evidence?

The real problem you have is this Ron Paul quote. “As an O.B. doctor of thirty years, and having delivered 4,000 babies, I can assure you life begins at conception­. I am legally responsibl­e for the unborn, no matter what I do, so there’s a legal life there. The unborn has inheritanc­e rights, and if there’s an injury or a killing, there is a legal entity...”

From wikipedia (http://en.­wikipedia.­org/wiki/M­urder_of_p­regnant_wo­men)
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, passed in 2004, defines a fetus as a "child in uterus" ... In the U.S., 36 states have laws with more harsh penalties if the victim is murdered while pregnant. Some of these laws defining the fetus as being a person...

Answer me this professor,
How can the legal system on one hand define a fetus as a person and on the other hand allow the murder of this same fetus through abortion? Are you for repealing all laws concerning injure or murder of fetuses?

BTW Rights do not come from the constitution. The Constitution's main purpose was to protect We the People from a government run amok and trampling on GOD given rights.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...


I answered another "but states punish crimes against the fetus" question before. Perhaps this is something Paul spews in his speeches.

Also, my argument does not present a dilemma. The Constitution doesn't treat a fetus as a person; some states have recognized torts and crimes for injuries to fetuses - but those states do not treat fetuses as persons. Even in those states, "killing" a fetus is not first-degree murder -- even if it is premeditated. Fetuses cannot own property. Fetuses have no independent existence outside of the mother. The same laws could simply punish batteries against the mother; it is impossible to harm a fetus without going through the mother. Also - those states are only trying to chip away at Roe v Wade. They have been largely unsuccessful.

States also make it a crime to harm or kill animals or to destroy property. These laws do not transform animals or property into "persons."

Finally, your argument that the Constitution doesn't create rights is appalling. Read the First 10 amendments; Read the 13-15, and 19.

PS: God is not mentioned in the Constitution!

WizarDave said...

Let's just look at the 1st amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That statement does not give me the right to freely exercise my religion, it limits the government.

That statement does not give me freedom of speech, it limits the government from trampling on my natural (I prefer God-given) right.

The right of the people to peaceably assemble existed well before the Constitution was written, so how could it be the Constitution that gives me this natural right?

This amendment does not create rights, it protects already existing natural rights from a government run amok.

Congress shall make no law...

I stand by my statement of fact, "Rights do not come from the constitution."

WizarDave said...

Here is the dilemma Professor as stated by Senator John Kerry.

In reference to 'The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004' (Public Law 108-212)

"I have serious concerns about this legislation because the law cannot simultaneously provide that a fetus is a human being and protect the right of the mother to choose to terminate her pregnancy."

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Wizard - that law has never been enforced (according to several online reports), and it is highly doubtful that if could be. It's probably unconstitutional. Why -- by what authority can Congress punish all violence to fetuses across the nation? There is no relationship to interstate commerce. And given the Court's ruling in a suit challenging the Violence Against Women's Act -- this statute is absolutely unenforceable. The court said that Congress couldn't regulate private violence across the nation that was unattached to the commerce power or some other power (which didn't exist). Sorry - this silly statute does not present a dilemma.

Besides - the statute on its face excludes abortion. And as much as states (and now congress) attempts to define fetuses as human life, they simply cannot ban abortion under current constitutional law. Again -- absolutely no dilemma. There is no fundamental right to murder; there is a fundamental right to terminate a pregnancy. The fact that you believe the two are the same does not create a legal dilemma.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Wizard - you can stand by your statement about rights and the constitution as much as you like -- but you cannot claim entitlement to do something -- thus limiting state action -- that the document does not recognize. I could claim a right to slap you in the face, saying that rights don't come from the constitution. but that argument will take me nowhere (but jail).

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

PS: rights and governmental constraints are two sides of the same coin. A right limits what the government can do. Banning government from penalizing certain conduct, gives us a right to engage in such conduct. In order to enforce these rights against the feds, you need to trace it to some federal statute or the Constitution. You can't just say that it exists.

.James.Evil. said...

@Darren Lenard Hutchinson

It doesn't even really matter what the constitution says. If you believe that your rights come from a piece of paper or the words of dead men or kings.. I feel very sorry for you.

The Lockean theory of natural rights (being the basis for the Constitution) states that rights exist in a negative aspect, in that you do not have the right to use force on me and I do not have the right to use force upon you.

Two Treatises of Government by John Locke written in 1689 changed the worlds view on the concept of rights from what was previously believed, and that was The Divine Rights of Kings. And so to believe that rights come from your government.. you are subscribing to the philosophy of the dark ages that your king hold supreme authority over you.

.. I think NOT "professor" I have RIGHTS and no king nor piece of paper can say otherwise.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Yeah -- great. You have all types of rights to do whatever you want. Unfortunately, those aren't legal rights. They are just things you are claiming from some philosophical perspective. Again, unless you can trace your liberty interest to something protected by the constitution, then you cannot enforce it against your government. You can claim the right to do any number of things -- rape, incest, murder, etc. But you can only enforce rights that the Constitution recognizes -- or that your state constitution recognizes. This is not the sign of a monarchy. Instead, it is the product of living in a civil society with the rule of law. We do not have anarchy.

WizarDave said...

The 9th amendment proves rights do not come from the Constitution. "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

There are additional rights not enumerated in the Constitution, therefore the rights cannot come from the Constitution.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Um -- Wizard: You are contradicting yourself. If the Constitution itself says that there are other rights besides those listed in the document, then the document itself is establishing rights that are protected as constitutional. By the way, the Ninth Amendment has never been used by a majority of the Supreme Court to invalidate a law. Try "liberty" as used in the Due Process Clause. But only those rights that are "fundamental" are protected; these are constitutional liberties.

You are basically making a "natural law" argument. Natural law doesn't mean much if our constitutional system doesn't specifically recognize the right. That's the point I have stressed throughout this debate. You can claim the right to do anything outside of the Constitution; enforcing that right against government or another person is quite a different matter.

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