Feb 052008
Authors: Phil Elder

Revolution. I get it. The guy wants to change things.

What I don’t get is why everyone keeps bringing him up, even this late in the primaries.

I used to be one of them. Last semester, when Paul’s politics actually mattered, I was an ardent Ron Paul dissenter, and expressed said dissent at every opportunity presented.

Though he has based his entire campaign on drastic changes, I was of the opinion that these changes are terrible ideas for this nation and its economy.

Elimination of our income tax, with our untold billions in foreign debt, disintegrating healthcare policies and deplorable public education system, is a terrible idea shared only by those with houses in the Hamptons and those with severe hallucinogenic drug problems.

Subsequently follows the constitutionalist argument, the idea that since our Founding Fathers didn’t include a provision for income tax it shouldn’t be included in our policy. The problem with Ron Paul is that he isn’t a constitutionalist. If he were, he would have read Article XVI, which empowers Congress to “lay and collect taxes on incomes.”

He also calls for our removal from international courts and treaties, freeing us from the shackles of international responsibility.

The day someone shows me a contemporary international treaty that is harmful for the world or civil society, minus NAFTA, I might take this policy into consideration.

However, the mere notion that Americans wish to refuse to participate in such progressive acts as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (which we’ve drawn out of), the Kyoto Protocol (which we refuse to ratify), the UN (who we don’t listen to) or even the Geneva Convention, the “core of international humanitarian law,” according to the Red Cross, is borderline disgusting.

In the age of internationalism, of global communities and of unprecedented communication and negotiation, we need to be participatory, not isolationist. To suggest that we are somehow above human law, above inhabitants of the rest of the world, is arrogant and misanthropic.

Ron Paul seems to desire a system similar to our post-colonial, pre-industrial revolution government.

Unfortunately, no one told him that 230 years have passed and adaptation is an essential requisite of the survival of any entity, particularly one of a political nature.

However, I would like to return to my point.

The man is a ghost in the 2008 GOP presidential race. Even on the slight chance that a Republican actually becomes elected for president, there isn’t a single chance that it will be Paul.

He has six delegates, out of the 224 that have pledged and the 1,191 needed to win. He is in a very, very distant 4th place among the GOP candidates, and due to either raw stubbornness or dozing off during every primary he has not yet followed in the footsteps of the only candidates at his level of competition: Thompson, Giuliani and Hunter.

Paul is the Ross Perot of 2008, and yet I continue to see not only massive amounts of supporters, but also columns, articles, interviews and even heated discussions among my fellow students.

Though I ardently support political involvement, particularly among youth, there is much that spawns from viable presidential candidates that warrants debate: McCain’s liberalist ideals, Hillary’s amorphous tendencies, Romney’s perpetuation of all that is Bush, Obama’s youthful naivety – all of this is very important and very material to our political world.

So please, the next time you feel the urge to engage in Paul-inspired debate, try instead to argue about something that actually matters.

Phil Elder is senior political science major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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