Thursday, November 20, 2008

Politics: The Ron Paul Ride

Like every other creature of the digital age, during the Republican primaries I didn't really know much about Ron Paul but I liked hearing about him. I never considered he'd be a viable candidate, so I didn't bother to hear out his policies.

The Freakonomics blog has published Paul's responses to Freakonomics-blog commenters' questions (part 1 and part 2). And they're... scary. He says a few things that make sense, but then seems to go off the deep end into insanity and then pop right back up to common-sense stuff, all smiles.

For example, his take on the question "Do you deny global warming?"
I try to look at global warming the same way I look at all other serious issues: as objectively and open-minded as possible. There is clear evidence that the temperatures in some parts of the globe are rising, but temperatures are cooling in other parts. The average surface temperature had risen for several decades, but it fell back substantially in the past few years.

Clearly there is something afoot. The question is: Is the upward fluctuation in temperature man-made or part of a natural phenomenon. Geological records indicate that in the 12th century, Earth experienced a warming period during which Greenland was literally green and served as rich farmland for Nordic peoples. There was then a mini ice age, the polar ice caps grew, and the once-thriving population of Greenland was virtually wiped out.

It is clear that the earth experiences natural cycles in temperature. However, science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations.

The question is: how much? Rather than taking a “sky is falling” approach, I think there are common-sense steps we can take to cut emissions and preserve our environment. I am, after all, a conservative and seek to conserve not just American traditions and our Constitution, but our natural resources as well.

We should start by ending subsidies for oil companies. And we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests. If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy. At the same time, I can’t support government “investment” in alternative sources either, for this is not investment at all.
Did you see that sanity loop-de-loop? He starts out by saying that he looks at everything objectively. Then he squirts out a few facts about the "Little Ice Age" in Greenland. Then he makes all that moot by saying that science shows human activity "probably does play a role" in the current upward trend.

Why go into that spiel about Greenland if you're going to talk about what the majority of scientists agree on? Why bring that up at all? It makes no sense.

Of course, allowing oil to rise to its natural price is a daring, flashy, and, dare I say it, good idea. Why the craziness roller-coaster ride, Ron Paul?

Other examples: He refuses to say anything about how unqualified Sarah Palin was for VP (which is nearly undeniable), yet he's negative about her because she would have to "toe the line on foreign policy and the war." And then there's the Department of Educuation abolition. Paul wants to dismantle it. Here's why:

First, the Constitution does not authorize the Department of Education, and the founders never envisioned the federal government dictating those education policies.

Second, it is a huge bureaucracy that squanders our money. We send billions of dollars to Washington and get back less than we sent. The money would be much better off left in states and local communities rather than being squandered in Washington.

Finally, I think that the smallest level of government possible best performs education. Teachers, parents, and local community leaders should be making decisions about exactly how our children should be taught, not Washington bureaucrats. The Department of Education has given us No Child Left Behind, massive unfunded mandates, indoctrination, and in come cases, forced medication of our children with psychotropic drugs. We should get rid of all of that and get those choices back in the hands of the people.

So much sense, yet so much batsh&t insanity. I mean, reform the Department, but don't demolish it. At my very basic level of understanding, the Dept. of Ed. makes sure that schools in poor communities have at least some money. Ron Paul would seem to think that schools in poor communities should, what? Close up shop? Not pay their teachers? Maybe every poor black kid in Baltimore should stay at home and be home-schooled? Maybe Ron Paul is not concerned about Baltimore inner-city kids? Maybe Ron Paul should say something about them? Or maybe people who are interested in Ron Paul aren't really interested in inner-city kids. After all, the only people who like Ron Paul... have computers.

1 comment:

Missy said...

My feelings on Ron Paul:

Initial hearings/rumblings: Don't take seriously, sounds out there.

Superficial research: Sounds cool and like he really makes some sense

anything-beyond-superficial research: Holy nutjob Batman

It would also help if there weren't so many Paultards out there acting like he's the second coming.