Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The normalization of Bircherism continues: puffing Ron Paul

Ron "Papa Doc" Paul, whose crackpot politics reflect the Old Right isolationist politics of groups like The Constitution Party, the John Birch Society and the White Citizens Council (Council of Conservative Citizens), has been a major facilitator in the transmission of ideas and paranoid conspiracy thinking from the Patriot Militia/white supremacist gutter of American politics into the mainstream of the Republican Party.

Dave Neiwert provides a catalogue of Papa Doc's actual legislative proposals in Ron Paul's record in Congress Orcinus 11/11/2007. As Dave puts it, "I doubt there would be many progressives, or even many liberals, who would like where this man comes from politically, or where he wants to take us."

But Papa Doc continues to find boosters. Conor Friedersdorf has done a puff piece on Papa Doc for The Atlantic Online, Close Why Does Ron Paul Scare You? 08/23/2011. He presents Papa Doc as an opponent of unnecessary wars who has some quaint and cranky views that are pretty much harmless. Alex Pareene provides a response to Friedersdorf's article in What's the worst that could happen in a Ron Paul presidency? Salon 08/24/2011. He writes, "And can you imagine Paul dealing with a 2008-style financial crisis? I am guessing he'd let all the banks fail -- which has its good points and its very terrifying points."

Ed Brayton in Is Ron Paul a Dominionist? Dispatches from the Creation Wars 10/18/2007 reminds us of some of the "libertarian" Papa Doc's positions on freedom in America. For instance:

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders' political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government's hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.
This is a typical Christian dominionist outlook, with the typical dishonest pseudohistory that goes along with it.

Brayton also notes that Papa Doc "completely ignores the 14th amendment isn't exactly comforting either. He is also stridently anti-abortion and opposes gay marriage." The reading that Bircher types like Papa Doc make of the Constitution is highly selective, to put it mildly.

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