Ron Paul's Responsibility Factor

January 11th, 2012  - Anonymous Contributor

“Order was only restored in LA when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” claimed an article entitled “A Special Issue On Racial Terrorism” in Ron Paul's 1992 newsletter.

“I'm not a racist. As a matter of fact, Rosa Parks is one of my heroes,” said Paul in a 2008 CNN interview.


Sixteen years might be enough to change a person's view on race and equality, but a person's passion to become president is enough to change one's view in a matter of minutes, out of necessity. Ron Paul is not the first presidential candidate to change his points of view (which apparently weren't actually his own), but he might be one of the few candidates in a long while who refuses to own up to his past deeds. Herman Cain admitted that allegations of sexual harassment against him were real, although he denied that he had performed any of them. Newt Gingrich's past is an open book and he has come to declare many of his past deeds (including a global warming ad with Nancy Pelosi) to be mistakes. Ron Paul has blatantly played dumb when asked about his controversial writings and refused to take much responsibility for the views that were expressed in several articles that were credited to him.

The idea of personal responsibility has helped define libertarianism in America. Some libertarians, like Ron Paul, seem to be destroying those very principles they preach. It would seem Ron Paul thinks that all of us are fools and that we are actually willing to believe he had no idea who wrote those controversial articles. Unlike his supporters, most Americans aren't so gullible. Had Ron Paul been able to step off of his moral high horse for one moment, he would have done something much smarter than just play dumb. He would have taken full responsibility for those writings and apologized. Declaring that they were a mistake and that his ideals have since changed would have been more virtuous than being so conveniently clueless.

Non-aggression has also helped define libertarianism. However, it is another concept that Paul has managed to take too far. Most libertarians believe that force should only be used as defense when force has been initiated by someone else. On 9/11, Al Qaeda initiated force against America and in the process took 3000 American lives. Somehow, Ron Paul has made the idea of non-aggression illogically binding and distorted the original views of most libertarians by denouncing America's very libertarian act of initiating force against its enemies. America would not have attacked the Taliban and expanded its presence in the Middle East had it not been for 9/11.  In Paul's view, 9/11 was probably a result of past American interventions. In Paul's view, all would probably be forgiven if we just shoved off and removed all American military forces from other countries.

Ron Paul has attacked America's foreign policy in past campaigns and continues to do the same this time. By doing so, he has wilfully shirked America's responsibility to protect its own citizens. American foreign policy may have been the cause of some blowback in the Middle East and other regions of the world, but today's reality is that there are several factions (political and militant) that would like to destroy America. It may be our fault, according to Paul, but the reality is stark and we have no choice but to defend ourselves from extremist elements that include Iran and Al Qaeda. As president, Ron Paul would be required to take responsibility for America's past actions. The question is: would he? A part of that responsibility involves reducing the elements that threaten America, at home and abroad, rather than denying them and pretending that all will be forgiven if we withdraw our influence and presence from dangerous regions. What has been done is done. Ron Paul will have to clean up the messes left by past presidents while also acknowledging the threat of Iran and global Anti-Americanism. As president, it would be his responsibility.  

Americans have to ask themselves if they have had enough with politicians and presidents not taking personal responsibility, or any accountability, for their actions. As president, would Paul openly deny and sweep his mistakes under the rug? Would he take responsibility for America as a whole? A Paul presidency is less likely than a snow storm in Cuba, despite his recent almost-successes in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the growing lot of libertarian Americans need to find a representative that lives up to the principles they preach. A truly libertarian president would not only transform America, but would create a positive historical shift. We have yet to experience a genuine libertarian society. We have had socialism, feudalism, and communism, but we haven't yet tried a system of pure individualism. To make any of their ideas into more than just spicy op-eds and essays, libertarians will need a leader that is capable of taking personal responsibility and ownership of his missteps. With a good, accountable leader, libertarians may be able to mold their ideas into the mainstream conservative machine and elevate themselves into the forefront of American politics.