December 31, 2007

I’ll bet some of you read my blog post criticizing (gasp!) Ron Paul for this ad:

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My critique of the ad is limited to the very last segment, which specifically mentions the student visa issue in the context of the “terrorist nations” concept.

There are two problems with it: first, it imposes collective punishment on an entire class of individuals on account of their nationality. This is not subjecting Saudis to special security checks, or even limiting the numbers of applicants—it is a blanket ban. Aside from being grossly unlibertarian, it’s just plain mean.

Secondly, and most surprisingly, Paul is allowing the US Department of State—or whomever in the government gets to decide these things at any given moment—to define “terrorist state.” If he abides by this decision in the realm of domestic policy, then he effectively concedes it to the government in the conduct of our foreign policy. So, why not invade Iran? After all, they’re a “terrorist state,” aren’t they?

As for the entirely separate question of illegal immigration, as opposed to students who apply for visas so they can legally travel to the United States, I’m with Ron 100 percent. Secure the borders. Stop illegal immigration. No amnesty.

Those who argue that this is a good sort of opportunism are plain wrong. This “terrorist nation” business—which hits the viewer over the head at the end—alienates those brought in by his antiwar message. It probably loses more votes than it gains.

Finally, you’ll note that the comments to my post on now number around 450 and still climbing: half were supportive, and the other half not very. The latter, furthermore, were outraged that I criticized Paul at all: I should have kept quiet, no matter what I thought, for the good of The Cause.

That is complete b.s., of course: I’m a writer, not a political hack, and, also, I don’t believe you can build a real, lasting political movement based on that kind of lockstep mentality. That’s what the neocons have, and we aren’t anything like them (I hope): the idea that there is some kind of political orthodoxy that “Paulians” (Paulistas? Paul-ites? Hey, the neocons call us “Paulestinians,” natch!) must follow is … well, it’s bonkers.

Have I turned against Ron Paul? Of course not. My efforts on his behalf are unabated. He is, after all, a political candidate, not some kind of all-knowing guru—and I know he wouldn’t have it any other way.


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