Still Crazy After All These Years

(Author’s note: Everything in the following story is true. I am not making up a single detail, a single quote.)

Yesterday, on my little road trip, I meandered back to my college and the student newspaper. I’d spent way, way too many hours there, holding down several editorial positions over the years, and wrote a lot of articles. And the current administration was kind enough to let me poke through their files and copy some of my older pieces.

Including two articles I wrote in the spring of 1988, during the presidential campaign, I got to cover campus visits by Bob Dole, Al Haig, Jack Kemp, and — after the primary — the visit from the Libertarian nominee for president from that year. In that case, I also managed to score a brief one-on-one interview with the guy. He was from Texas, and his name was Ron Paul.

Gee, I wonder whatever became of that guy?

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to reprint some of the quotes I jotted down almost 20 years ago.

Paul on why he was running: “To give people a choice; there really isn’t much of a difference between Democrats and Republicans.”

Paul on his Libertarian platform: “The libertarians stand for individual liberty and an end to government interference. The Democrats and Republicans serve the special interest groups; we want government to serve the people… we’re advocating a gold standard and an end to paper money, no personal income tax, an end to U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf and around the world, and a free market for trade.”

(Note: this was two years before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.)

Paul’s economic platform: “I would abolish the high tax level and deregulate the economy. I’d also put the U.S. back on the gold standard. That would get the economy back under control, and the government would stop printing more money whenever they feel like it.”

Drugs? “When the government started its ‘war on drugs,’ they spent a lot of money and made a difficult problem ten times worse. I would legalize drugs. That would eliminate a lot of drug-related crimes, as well as reduce the spread of AIDS, because people wouldn’t have to share syringes. It will work; cigarettes are legal, and more risky than some drugs, and we’re seeing cigarette use decline. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, and it isn’t working for drugs.”

Student financial aid? (Remember, this was a college paper.) “I would scrap the current program. Instead, if both parents or the student are working, they’d get a direct benefit, either a tax credit or a voucher… No more sending money to Washington and getting it back.”

And why he’s running as a Libertarian? “I’ve always been a Libertarian, I just ran as a Republican… people say the government should be limited in some areas; it ought to be limited in all areas. Government exists to protect individual liberties.”

Then, I got to cover his speech. A few excerpts:

Paul was severely disillusioned by Ronald Reagan. “I find it amazing that the president was elected running for a balanced budget and condemning President Carter, yet today the deficit is twice as great. In 1980, the deficit stood at 985 billion. By the end of this year, the debt ceiling will hit 2.8 trillion. Reagan’s deficit is greater than all other president’s deficits combined.

“Now, when an individual is broke, he’s in trouble. When the government is broke, they just print more money. The government ought to be held to the same standards as individuals.”

On the income tax: he’d abolish it. “We survived a majority of our history without it, and we certainly don’t need it now.”

The gold standard: “I would never permit anyone to counterfeit our money — not people and certainly not politicians.”

Drugs, again: “The government has no right or authority to protect you from yourself,” and added that the “war on drugs turned a terrible problem into a horrible problem.”

On national defense: a strong defense, but “we shouldn’t be giving the shirts off our backs defending rich countries like Japan.”

Education: the federal system “isn’t in the Constitution and doesn’t work.” He’d privatize the whole thing.

Paul also endorsed bringing all troops stationed overseas, but would not be “isolationist.” “We would open our borders more. We would bring our weapons home, and Europe would have to do more for themselves. We would be less confrontational, but we’d have a strong defense.”

Paul also endorsed pulling out of the Persian Gulf. “97% of the oil that flows through the Persian Gulf ends up in Europe or Japan; only 3% comes to the US. It’s a crazy situation where our ‘allies’ kill 47 of our boys. We’d get out.”

Editor’s note: my memory is a bit hazy, but I think this was a typo — it might have been 37. That would match the number of US sailors killed aboard the USS Stark when she was hit by two Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi plane in 1987, when we were siding with Iraq as a check against Iran — who had mined the Persian Gulf and was threatening oil tankers.)

On Social Security: he’d dismantle it. “First, we’d allow young people to pull out of the system and set up their own programs. We’d gradually phase it out, and we’d encourage people to get out of the system by offering tax deductions for those who set up their own systems.”

Some wiseass (I think it was me) asked how Paul could promise both tax cuts and to abolish the income tax entirely. He quipped “(t)hat would be the best deduction of all,” then elaborated that the abolition of both income tax and Social Security would be gradual processes.

Drugs, again: “Drugs were legal for a majority of our history. Drug dealers love drug laws. It lets them make more money.”

On the election: “The purpose of this campaign is to overcome the status quo. Our greatest disadvantage is that the other party’s candidates are given 45 million dollars to spend, while we’re limited to donations of less than $1,000 each. Our greatest advantage, though, is that they’re about as good as handling money as they are at running the government.”

Finally, I asked him about the two major nominees — George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Which would be the lesser of two evils? Paul had his line at the ready.

“It’s more like ‘the evil of two lessers. Ten years ago, I would have said the Republican. Now I know that there’s no difference.

There’s no difference.”

Interesting comments from “the only real Republican running,” as his ads claim…

In an ideal world, Paul’s ideas from 1988 would prevail. Hell, I find myself nodding along with most of them as I transcribe these photocopied pages. But the world just isn’t that simple. It’s too small, too dangerous a place for that brand of idealism.

Some of these principles are worthy of consideration, and I’d even go so far as to far as to say that some are long overdue. But Paul (and his particular brand of crazy supporters) is not the answer today.

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  • jpm100

    Isolationism reminds me of a shut-in who stays in his apartment and avoids people. Does that person have control of his life?

    Isolationism isn’t Autonomy and in fact probably makes it more difficult to protect whatever Autonomy you do have.

  • kim

    The Paulites are like Naderites, though this time aimed by the Clinton/Dean machine at the Republicans.
    =======================================

  • Where’s the “Cockoo Clock” sound bite when you need one?

  • Chris G

    I’ve always said Liberatrians were Conservatives who smoked dope and were isolationist. Am I being too simplistic?

    Of course he is running as a Republican. Anyone running as a Democrat, who advocated reduction of tax AND entitlement spending would get their car egged and their mailbox ran over. And our troops being overseas is for out benefit, not for theirs.

    The media’s love for him is based on the fact he is a Republican who sounds like a liberal, but without the pretense of caringn for the world.

    His Isolationist/Anti-Oil rant falls in line with their “No War in Iraq for Oil” meme, although for different reasons. His Open Borders stance is also leftist. The adulation of him by the 9/11 Truthers/Loose Change crowd is bizarre.

    So he wants to open the borders and lealize drugs, bring the troops home, and expresses his doubt that Bin Laden caused 9/11. Nice

  • One little detail which ALWAYS gets omitted when Paul talks about “abolishing drug laws” is that he doesn’t only mean current laws on “controlled substances” like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc. He would abolish ALL drug laws – he believes federal regulation of prescription drugs is also “unconstitutional” (as such babbling idiots are often wont to claim).

    Under Paul’s drug prescription, you don’t need a prescription to buy Lipitor or Oxycontin, and the guy at the corner store “don’t need no stinkin’ badges” or pharmacist’s licenses to sell them to you or anyone else.

    Paul conveniently forgets we also had laisse-faire drug laws for the better part of our history, and they were a disaster. People were victimized by every huckster with a nostrum to peddle, whether it contained alcohol, absinthe, arsenic, mercury, or lead. We tried this and it failed.

    Neither would having 50 separate regimens for testing and approval of drugs coming to market be a workable solution. We have a federal government for good reasons; this is one.

    For all the FDA’s shortcomings, do we really want to open the market to every untested “drug” some kook can invent?

    Paul doesn’t really support our Constitution, despite his lofty (flighty?) rhetoric: he really wants a return to the Articles of Confederation. Sorry, Ron – been there, done that.

    Paul ought adopt the campaign slogan I suggested for Ross Perot in 1992: “Sometimes you feel like a nut – sometimes you ARE one!”

  • GianiD

    I ‘define’ myself as a Conservative Libertarian, so, yeah, some of what he said, back then, makes sense. These days, this guy is out there, as in Kucinich – Trafficant out there.

    Im all for disbanding SS, I love the idea of term limits(I think 8 yrs as Sen, 4 as Rep works), and ending Congressional pay and benefits for life, and all for getting govt and unions out of our schools. I also think Congress should get paid for the work they do, and NOT get paid while campaigning. I support the end of the progressive tax system(which IMO is illegal under the Equal Protection Amendment). Flat tax will do just fine, it has in several other countries.

  • Liberty

    The thing about Paul that strikes me is that he, above all, loves the concept of individual liberty, something I think that offends or scares authoritarians.

    It is interesting when you look at the constitution the whole purpose of it was to try and protect liberty from goverment which historically always seeks to increase its power.

    We have branches of govemrnet competing against each other to prevent an increase in powerto weaken each other, we have a bill of rights (one of which says these ain’t all the rghts you get just the ones we listed) and we have based our goverment on the principles of the Natural rights of man. That EVERYMAN (even a non U.S. citizen the govemrent wants to lock up without a charge or to torture) is entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Paul gets this and wants to protect it at all costs. Authoritarians beleive that we must have a super strong excutive that protects us against all threats. (never mind that Benjamen Franklin said he who gives a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security deserves neither freedom nor liberty)

    Authoritarias want to stomp out dissent, and think working in secret is a good thing for goverment. When they are presented with the pesky bill of rights they stop looking at the spirit of the document (which is about preserving liberty) and looking for ways to circumvent it. “Well Habeus corpus doesn’t extend to non U.S. citizens” Never mind that the declaration of independence argued that all people on this planet were BORN with these rights.

    So you guys can have your double guantanmos. I’ll take the guy who respects freedom as more than a buzzword. even if it brings things to society I don’t like. At least it will be a society where I don’t have to worry about uncle sam peeking in my window at night to make sure I am not doing anything he thinks is inappropriate. Call me crazy but I bleive in the experiment of America. After the constituinal covention Ben Franklin was asked what we were given he replied ” A republic madame, if you can keep it” Paul fights to keep it. If only anyone else in your party would.

    Possible Poser Alert: “Liberty” is listing a “freedomfries@” e-mail address — a term often used by leftists to mock conservatives (and rightfully so, I have to confess) over that stupid “no French Fries in Congress” business. I can not prove that there is a connection between “Liberty” and noted inciteful bozo “FreedomFries,” but I strongly suspect one exists.

    J.

  • mantis

    I love the idea of term limits(I think 8 yrs as Sen, 4 as Rep works)

    So Senators well be allowed to serve 1 term and 1/3? How would that work?

  • Matt

    Can someone explain to me why Rep Pauls respect for the constitution is “scary?” Why are so many terrified by the concept of individual liberty and freedom? What is wrong with abolishing the income tax? What is wrong with reforming Social Security until we no longer need it? Why do so many people want to protect the status-quo that they spend so much time and money complaining about?
    Legalizing drugs could take a lot of tyrannical drugs off the market. Abolishing the FDA, considering it’s current problems and huge blunders the last 5 years might save quite a lot of people. It could also open the doors to new treatments from overseas companies that could benefit Americans. Making changes to the status quo always has risks, but often the risks are worth it.

    All we have been offered since the end of Reagans Terms of Office have been a rehash of the status Quo. There hasn’t been a lot of difference in the performance of Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. We have been promised by all the candidates that they will continue on with their interpetation of “Status Quo.” We need a new direction for our country if we want to survive.

    I dare you, vote for freedom, vote for liberty.

  • WildWillie

    I will take that dare. Ron Paul is a nut case. Plain and simple. All of his ideas are half ideas. He does not think of the ramifications of his goofy ideas. We do need a new direction in this country, but Ron Paul is not the map. ww

  • Liberty

    hHe challenge Wild Willie that Matt put forth was to to explain what about Paul’s respect for ther constitution is scary? You replied that “Paul is a nutcase”

    So basically Paul says the constitution is important and sacred and you say “That’s batshit crazy! this guy has to be stopped”

    That is some pretty unamerican reasoning.

  • capital L

    Actually, I’d say having the platform planks of scrapping the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard qualifies one as “batshit crazy.”

  • Liberty

    “Actually, I’d say having the platform planks of scrapping the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard qualifies one as “batshit crazy.”

    Because…? There has to be a reason in there somehwere from one of you guys.

    Matt says what is crazy about respecting the constituion. Wild Willie gives no reason but re asserts Paul is a nutcase. I reply that respecting the constituion is not nuts.

    You reply “Well he wants to go back on gold” but give no reason why this is bad. its just nuts for no reason. Actually it is not nuts

    from: Michael A. Nystrom
    “a gold standard contains inflation, enforces fiscal discipline on government, and makes it much more difficult for government to fight needless wars. Under a gold standard, money is worth increasingly more each year as citizens reap direct benefits from increases in efficiency. This is a nearly impossible concept for most citizens to grasp, since all we have ever known in our lifetimes is a currency that is worth less and less each year. “

    Now back to the main question why is it a bad idea to respect the constitution of the united states? I rather like it myself.

  • Matt

    WW, I do agree that in some cases RP doesn’t seem to know the ramifications of some of his proposals. I don’t see reverting to the gold standard being possible or practical. THe economy had siginificant ups and downs etc when on the gold standard.

    That said, are the other candidates aware of the ramificaitons of their proposals? McCain still supports the disasters of McCain-Fiengold and the late Immigration bills. Romney won’t address the long-term affects of his gay-marriage support in MA, or his socialized-medicine plan put in place there. just for some examples. The Democrat candidates are possibly worse, I think they do understand the ramifications of their proposals and would go forward anyhow.

    Ron Paul is at least willing to try to set the country right and get back to a constitutional government, one that respects an individuals rights, one that works within the boundaries of it limitations.

  • WildWillie

    Nothing unconstitutional about what I said. We the people vote the people in who make the laws. That my friend is constitutional. Unless you think your nut case buddy, Ron Paul, should get himself elected and just dictate what should or should not be done. Hmmm. What is that called? A dictatorship. So, who is unconstitutional here? ww

  • WildWillie

    What is an individuals rights? Burning crosses? Telling people their fat? Carrying bazooka’s? I am not by any means a government guy. I live in Texas mainly because our government only meets every other year and then just for a few months. But, people are irresponsible and they need controls. Some people anyway. If we were allowed to thin the herd every now and then, well maybe freedoms can be absolute. ww

  • Matt

    WW,

    If Ron Paul got himself elected and just started dictating what will and won’t be regardless of the constitution and congress and the will of the people, how would he be different from the past two presidents or the other candidates running?

    Ron Paul has always been supportive of the Constitution, the separation of powers, checks and balances etc. He supports a Federal Governement that doesn’t walk all over the citizens rights. Why is that crazy?

  • Cousin Dave

    My gripe with Paul is that he has veered off in the direction of populism. I remember the 1988 Ron Paul. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of his ideas, but I considered him a principled liberatarian and I thought he deserved serious consideration.

    Not any more. His anti-corporate screeds over the past few years (how does he reconcile that with personal liberty?) and his current willingness to align himself with the defeatist left in Congress mark him as a populist. And populism, based as it is on social concensus, is anamthema to a libertarian.

    Paul came onto the scene in the late ’80s by taking the reigns of the Libertarian Party and cleaning up the mess left by Lyndon LaRouche, of which he did an admirable job. But are their forces within the LP that he was unable to get rid of, and have they gotten to him now? He sure doesn’t sound like the same guy as he did in 1988.

  • Liberty

    “Nothing unconstitutional about what I said. We the people vote the people in who make the laws. That my friend is constitutional. Unless you think your nut case buddy, Ron Paul, should get himself elected and just dictate what should or should not be done. Hmmm. What is that called? A dictatorship. So, who is unconstitutional here? ww”

    Wild Willie, If the people we vote in pass a law that is in violation of the constituion it is illegal. For instnace Congress cannot pass a law banning free speech. Why? the bill of rights laws spelled out in the constituion. Paul respects all of the Bill of rights and all of the constituion and you say he is a nutcase for that.

    That is an unamerican statement.

  • Liberty

    “What is an individuals rights? Burning crosses? Telling people their fat?

    This is covered under the first amendment. I am for the first amendment, even if it is offensive. So yes if you want to burn a cross that would be your right. I could think you were a vile person for it, but I beleive you have that right. Want to tell someone they are fat? That does not make you a nice person but it is protected speech.

    “Carrying bazooka’s?”

    Covered under the second amendemnt. If you are against this why stop there, maybe rifles are a bad idea too, or handguns. Me, I go with the constituiton.

    “I am not by any means a government guy. I live in Texas mainly because our government only meets every other year and then just for a few months. But, people are irresponsible and they need controls. “

    If you honestly beleive this you are against every principle this country is based on. We were founded on the idea of liberty and freedom. Not government control.

  • Interesting that you bring this up today as I just started reading “Parliament of Whores” this morning and the ’88 election period is what he covers.

  • I ‘define’ myself as a Conservative Libertarian, so, yeah, some of what he said, back then, makes sense. These days, this guy is out there, as in Kucinich – Trafficant out there.
    And thanks for your comment

  • vespasio

    one way you can tell paul and the libertarians as a whole are doomed is to read the comments from people allegedly on the his side of the political spectrum. “well then, who would be in charge? who’d make and enforce the rules for us to follow?” “oh no, we couldn’t do THAT. it would be unFAIR to some people.” “we NEED the government to watch over us and keep us safe!” “why, if drugs were legal, the huge profits that keep the drug gangs afloat would vanish overnight! just like when prohibition ended! and THEN where would we be?”

    if you needed any more proof that the leftist/statist strategy of ‘capturing the schools and brainwashing the children’ has worked spectacularly well, the above comments should do the trick.

    the fellow above asked “why are so many terrified by the concept of individual liberty and freedom?”. the answer is, “because they were *taught to fear it* in the government schools. then they were discouraged from doing their own research in order to draw their own conclusions.” stupid children are easily controlled, which brings us back to “paul & the libertarians are screwed.”

  • critic

    it is interesting to note that Paul hasn’t changed his position in 20 years on any of those issues, in a lot of cases he’s still saying the same thing. I wonder what Guilani was saying 20 years ago, wasn’t he a Democrat? wasn’t he for Gun control? gay marriage? wasnt he against Pataki and endorsing a Democrat candidate for Governor because he didnt like his lower tax plans? Ron Paul is a lot more conservative

  • LenS

    “Paul also endorsed pulling out of the Persian Gulf. ‘97% of the oil that flows through the Persian Gulf ends up in Europe or Japan; only 3% comes to the US.'”

    Sigh. Another politician who has no clue about supply and demand. First, even losing 3% of your supply will have an impact. But even more critical, if the Persian Gulf oil stops flowing to Europe and Japan, they’ll have to start buying the Nigerian, Venezuelan and Mexican oil that we do use. Which means we pay a lot more. The word fungible clearly is not one in his vocabulary. He was a fool then. He’s a fool now.

  • James Cloninger

    So Senators will be allowed to serve 1 term and 1/3? How would that work?

    Via Constitutional Amendment, changing the term of a senator from unlimited 6 year terms to one 8 year term.

  • mantis

    Via Constitutional Amendment, changing the term of a senator from unlimited 6 year terms to one 8 year term.

    I know you didn’t propose this, but why not just make it a one term limit and leave the length alone? Or two terms?

    A pipe dream anyway. An amendment needs to be ratified by the states, the legislatures of which are full of people who want to be senators. For a long time.

    You could go with constitutional conventions, like the 21st. Good luck with that.

  • kim

    And sometimes you wonder, J, if they aren’t actually Deaniacs.
    ======================================

  • kim

    Personally, I think this is one of the reasons Dean is so quiet; he is running the Paul campaign for Hillary.
    ===============================

  • WildWillie

    There is a fine line between libertarians and anarchists. Do we need taxes? Yes. Cause constitutionally the government has to protect and defend our country. But most of all, I agree with Kim, Ron Paul supporters are Deaniacs. Ron Paul has not changed his positions in twenty years shows to me he does not have the capability to grow or reassess. He is a bumper sticker. I am not a republican either. I am a conservative who is not impressed with any choices on the ballot. One thing I have not changed in twenty years and that is my opinion of Ron Paul. ww

  • In essence, Ron Paul tells us all the things he believes in, but how is he going to get any of it accomplished? He has few friends in Congress; you know, that body that will be making or abolishing the current laws he’s so dead set against.

  • Proof

    Still Crazy After All These Years
    You know, I think it is patently unfair to judge a man simply by his words, his thoughts, his actions, his demeanor and his followers!
    Besides…look at all the crazy people you’re impugning!

  • db

    Authoritarias want to stomp out dissent, and think working in secret is a good thing for goverment. When they are presented with the pesky bill of rights they stop looking at the spirit of the document (which is about preserving liberty) and looking for ways to circumvent it. “Well Habeus corpus doesn’t extend to non U.S. citizens” Never mind that the declaration of independence argued that all people on this planet were BORN with these rights.

    I don’t recall Habeus Corpus as right being in the Declaration of Independence.
    The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
    So it not supreme right though very important further more if they are POW they would only need to be put on trail if they broke laws while detained. Since they do not war a uniform and are not in service to a government they are enemy combatants and do not even got POW status.
    The constitution is about US laws and powers and it gives rights to the US citizenry. If you are a an alien that does not mean you have right to privacy. If you are an illegal alien the US can deport you from it borders.

  • Regarding the gold standard issue: (see if you can guess who wrote the following before you get to the bottom of the quote:

    “In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

    This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”

    – Adapted from “Gold and Economic Freedom” by Alan Greenspan [written in 1966]

  • Les Nessman

    From the GeekWithA.45 blog:

    “WANTED:

    Upgraded liberty oriented leaders and politicians who are well versed in the classical nature of our Republic, and who seek to (re)establish and enhance the maximum liberty of the people within that framework.

    Candidates will understand that coercing all choices into binary bright line “all or nothing” principled/unprincipled categories is inherently unnatural and a counterproductive absolutist simplification, and that the genie will not be stuffed into back into the lamp overnight or purely as the result of virtuous, principled thinking.

    The upgraded, smart and pragmatic libertarian will recognize that choices are “more principled”, and “less principled” as they pertain to the liberty of the people, and will strive to obtain actual results in the world, even if those improvements are incremental, by consistently, prudently and relentlessly promoting and selecting the most principled choice that is feasible under the totality of the circumstances.

    Above all, you must DELIVER THE GOODS.”

    That is why Ron Paul is not a serious candidate.

  • Les Nessman

    To reiterate, liberarians should ” strive to obtain actual results in the world, even if those improvements are incremental, by consistently, prudently and relentlessly promoting and selecting the most principled choice that is feasible under the totality of the circumstances.”

    Some people are one-issue voters. Or two-issue voters. I’m not sure I agree with that outlook, but I understand it.
    The Ron Paulers, on the other hand, have a list of dozens of issues; and if you even slightly disagree on any one of them, they relentlessly attack, saying ‘you hate liberty!’ or ‘that’s un-american!’ All or nothing. That’s why they are crazy.

  • ravenshrike

    @ Liberty – Money is nothing but a system to exchange relative worth. By limiting it to gold, you are de facto limiting the amount of relative worth that can be exchanged. Only so much gold to go around. The system we have now is not that bad, in fact it is quite good, although it could do with a bit more transparency in how much money is printed etc.. etc… Ron Paul OBVIOUSLY doesn’t understand anything about economics, given that he doesn’t understand that without ensuring the Persian Gulf remained open and the oil flowing, the market would have shot up because the supply would have been restricted to well below demand. Which means that remaining oil sellers would have had many more customers to serve. He only understands things from a individual liberty perspective.

  • _Mike_

    Wanna see that ‘Republicans’ aren’t much different than ‘Liberals’ ? mention anything ‘Libertarian’.

    To wit, WildWillie:

    But, people are irresponsible and they need controls.

    By God your right! If the government didn’t tell people what to do, then they’d probably have to think for themselves… and obviously, as this example shows, that won’t work!

    Freedom means being free from coercion.

  • db

    Mike,

    Conservatives believe in limited government which has laws that protect people and champions individual freedoms and that the individual have personal accountability.
    Just like governments need to be accountable to its people people need to be accountable to its governments. Laws are how we ensure society be making everyone subject to it.

    What I am saying is that you are free to make choices but you must be held accountable for them. Steal someone property goto jail. Use illegal drugs goto jail.

  • mantis

    Just like governments need to be accountable to its people people need to be accountable to its governments. Laws are how we ensure society be making everyone subject to it.

    John Locke couldn’t have said it better himself.

  • _Mike_

    db:

    Mike,

    Conservatives believe in limited government which has laws that protect people

    I’m not sure why you directed the comment to me, but okay. My comment was an objection to the statement that ‘people are irresponsible and therefore government needs to control them’.

    The problem with your statement that I’ve quoted is its ambiguity. To protect people from whom ? The correct answer is: from other people (‘other people’ is inclusive of government). The incorrect answer, which is implied from WW comment and in your last sentence, is from themselves.

  • mantis, no, people need to be accountable to EACH OTHER, not to governments.