Devolution for some of the people

Devolution for some of the people

by digby

As always, Adele Stan nails the story when it comes to the connections among the far right fringies. In today's piece she draws together the strands that bring Ron Paul and the lunatic Christian Reconstructionists together. I urge you to read the whole thing -- it's quite illuminating. Here's the conclusion:

Ron Paul seeks to shrink the federal government to minimal size not because it intrudes in the lives of individuals, but because it stands in the way of allowing the states and localities to enact laws as they see fit -- even laws that govern people's behavior in their bedrooms.

Here's what Paul published on the Web site of Lew Rockwell -- allegedly one of the authors of his racist, homophobic newsletters -- about the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that struck down the state's anti-sodomy laws, which prohibited sex between men:

The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment "right to privacy." Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states' rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.

This plays neatly into the hands of Paul's Christian Reconstructionist friends, who seek the destruction of the federal government for the opportunity to implement "God's law" on earth. Via Warren Throckmorton's invaluable Web site, comes this quote from the Christian Reconstructionist Bojidar Marinov, who writes of why "theonomists," as Reconstructionists define themselves, should root for Ron Paul:

The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.

Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level.

I continue to wonder why Ron Paul is considered a libertarian. He's an isolationist Tenther. If that's your philosophy, then fine. But I think an awful lot of libertarians are missing the bait and switch.

Update: There's a lot of talk about how all this libertarian white supremacy was just a political pact with the devil 30 years ago, along the lines of the Southern Strategy. That may be true. But it seems that Ron Paul has bought his own hype, if that's the case.

He could be crusading to end the drug war, for instance, on a moral or philosophical level. But as with his defense of Lawrence as a states' rights issue, he isn't. He crusading for it to be devolved to a state by state issue. That is not the same thing.

Libertarianism has a real position on this and it's universal:
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
Nothing in that says force is ok as long as its used by the state of Texas instead of the FBI. And yet, that's Ron Paul's position on sodomy laws and drug laws and choice and a whole host of issues pertaining to individual liberties and human rights. So all of you who believe that Ron Paul would release the millions incarcerated for the victimless crime of using drugs should realize that he would only release those held in federal prisons. If you're locked up in the State Penitentiary, he sympathizes, but thinks that States have a perfect right to do it.

In case you were wondering, the total federal prison population in 2010 was around 200,000 people while the state and local prison population was about 1.5 million. Paul says there's nothing he can do about the latter and wouldn't dream of telling those states what they should and shouldn't do. That's his principle, not freeing the victims of the drug war.

Update II: More on Paul's Antebellum politics here and here.