I’ve been hearing lately about Ron Paul’s idea that government should get out of marriage entirely. I support gay marriage and all that, but getting government totally out of marriage is a little insane. That legal document means something to many people. The government stamp makes the relationship official. Without that, what reason would people have to stay married? Divorce would skyrocket, but we would have no way of knowing because nothing would be recorded. Couples could just wander away from each other with no legal consequences.
And what would the lawyers do? Divorce is a big industry. Without all the laws and the necessity of hiring lawyers, people might have to sit down with their spouse and talk about their relationship. We all know that’s not realistic. It’s much better to have a representative of the law standing in the middle of your relationships.
The problem is that marriage is the only type of personal relationship that’s legally regulated. Marriage is suffering, not because of too much government involvement, but because the dating world by comparison is completely unregulated. What we need to do is start licensing other personal relationships. We could simplify relationships dramatically if we had to get a license to, for example, start a monogamous relationship. So often in dating we get confused. One person believes they’re just dating casually, the other is planning their future together. Currently there are no legal consequences for leading someone on or breaking someone’s heart, even if it causes far more pain than other crimes. If we legislated this and provided strict relationship rules, forcing both parties to fill out declarations of intent, then we could eliminate a great deal of confusion. People who are only looking for sex, for example, could be quickly identified and matched up with more appropriate partners, and when it’s time to begin a monogamous relationship, you can get an official license from the government. I think anyone would agree that would make it more special and reduce all sorts of ambiguity.
We definitely need best-friend licenses, at least to start. Eventually we should phase in the licensing of all friendships. Imagine never hearing the phrase “I thought you were my friend,” ever again. No more ambiguity. You will always know who your friends are and who you can trust, because you will have federal laws enforcing and guaranteeing those friendships.
We’d have similar benefits from licensing religions. No more arguments about who’s a “true Christian” because we’d finally have a federal document proving it one way or the other. Then we’d have a comprehensive list of all the valid religions in America and have clear statistics about whose a member of which.
These federally standardized social constructs would provide at least two huge benefits. One, they would give the government more information about its citizens. This would aid law enforcement in catching criminals and tracking dissenters or rebels, or could be sold to advertisers for extra revenue. The paperwork and legalities would create jobs and create new fields of law like friendship and religion law. The fees for all these licenses and the fines for breaking the social contracts would result in even more revenue for the government. This money could be used for all sorts of important projects, such as putting nuclear weapons on the moon, because everyone knows that thing is a serious threat to our national security.
Ron Paul seems to get attacked on his stance on education. At first glance it seems that getting rid of the department of education would be insane. Your first reaction is to think “oh, he doesn’t think people should be able to get an education,” but this judgement isn’t fair. Somehow it seems like we’ve gotten to a point where in order to support something people are required to support it on a massive scale and in an absolute fashion. For some of us we just don’t see our federal government handling our education better than the average state. For the most part we’re not opposed to public education and certainly not opposed to teacher’s unions. We don’t want to hack away and destroy education in America, as many Ron Paul haters seem to think. We simply want the states to handle it, as the Constitution suggests, and wish to give more power of choice back to the students, parents and teachers, with a carefully planned transitional period to ensure the new systems will run smoothly. While people may have legitimate disagreements with Ron Paul’s stance on education, the fearful, gut-reaction responses are not warranted.
I found it difficult to find a clear history of our education system and test results, but I have heard it argued that since the department of education was established, test scores have gone down and waste has gone up. The sites I found basically gave me this understanding: public education began on the small scale in America before the USA was even a country and grew steadily until most communities had some kind of public education system. In 1867 the original Department of Education was created, but it was mostly information based. It studied the school systems, and provided a knowledge-base for educators to reference and probably some other school support structures, but from what I gather, did not particularly regulate the system or make demands. The school systems continued consolidating until shortly after World War II, when there was a ”significant expansion of Federal support for education” which seems to have continued through 1979 when the Department of Education was “recreated” and became basically what we know today.
Now get this: according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s, the suicide rate among U.S. males aged 15-24 more than tripled.” It doubled for females.
Am I the only person who sees a connection between the rigid policies of our public education system and the teen suicide rate? It seems to me that you cannot have a discussion about education without factoring in teen suicide rates, because suicide is the best gauge we have to see how the system is working on an emotional level. This isn’t just because of the way kids are treated like cattle, or degraded by other students, teachers, or the system itself, or because they are never given a choice or a voice in their own future, but also because of the way they know the system is not preparing them for the real world, and because some of them have become wise to the fact that they are only being given the information the federal government wants them to have. For every teenager who commits suicide there are countless more who are miserable, fed up and pissed off at the system. We owe them something better.
If you have watched any of the It Gets Better campaign directed at the LGBT youth, it feels like a beacon in a sea of hopelessness. …”It get’s better” …but to me it feels more like something you say to a kid when you want them to stop complaining, when you know nobody is going to help them… But it’s not a false statement. It does get better… when they graduate high school and are finally allowed to make their own choices and go places where they are accepted. Why is the federal government doing little to nothing to make things better in our public schools in the meantime? The bureaucracy is a major part of why our kids are having such troubles and why so many are being left behind. The massive, one-size-fits-all rules makes kids feel like their specific situation is not represented or cared about and that the only way to make anything better is to succeed at a national campaign. The massive bureaucracy is so daunting that it makes parents, teachers, community activists, and most importantly the young people, feel as though they are helpless to change anything in their own education.
Now, giving all the power back to the states is not a perfect system. A couple would probably start teaching creationism. I don’t like creationism any more than anyone else, but it’s a small price to pay for allowing parents and students control over their own education and taking control back from a system that appears to be failing. Giving education back to the states would allow us the flexibility to try different ideas. The science of education is constantly evolving and the federal government is not keeping up. We could be trying all kinds of different ideas. Granted, some ideas would not be that great, but overall, it really seems that fewer kids would get left behind than in our current system, and we would have the opportunity to discover far superior, less painful and degrading ways of educating our youth.
You can disagree if you like. That’s fair if you want to argue that we already know all the best ways of conducting education and that the federal government is implementing them significantly better than the average state or local community could. It’s fair if you have arguments against Ron Paul’s desire to phase out the Department of Education or against the idea of allowing the states or the people more control, or if you say the tenth amendment was not well thought out and should be ignored. What’s not fair is to accuse us of being opposed to education or that we don’t want free and equal access to education, because that is very far from the truth.
http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html A history of the Department of Education
http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewpage&page_id=050fea9f-b064-4092-b1135c3a70de1fda American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stats page. (You may note that since the mid 1990′s, suicide rates have been on the decline, but I believe this is more because of public awareness and new medications than it is because of changes in how we treat our young people.)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading Countries ranked by quality of education. USA actually isn’t doing too terribly, although I have read that we spend more per student than any other nation, so we’re not getting the greatest return on our investment.
So I think I’ve finally jumped the fence and turned into a Ron Paul supporter. It feels kinda weird. I don’t like the idea of voting Republican. I thought I would never even consider that, but the more I watch of him, the more I realize he is not like other republicans.
I will admit the initial reason I started looking at Ron Paul over Obama is his stance on marijuana legalization. I have since found a long list of other reasons to support him, but Ron Paul supporters are often accused of just wanting to get high, as though marijuana legalization is some stupid side-issue that only affects a few hippie stoners and we’re just stupid and selfish for choosing a candidate based on this issue. I particularly resent this attitude.
If a politician refused to acknowledge that women have equal rights, would you really blame women for not voting for him, even if he were the perfect candidate in every other way? There are countless gay people who make their voting decisions based on gay issues. Do their fellow liberals say condescending things about them and accuse them of just wanting to have butt sex? Why are marijuana smokers belittled and treated like our issue is not important when we are the most persecuted group in America? For every gay person who wishes the government would give him a piece of paper acknowledging his marriage, there’s a dozen pot smokers who fear going to prison, losing their jobs, their homes, getting beaten by police, and having their families torn apart. Not to mention the sick and dying patients who need it to lead a normal life. The government, as a matter of policy, blatantly lies to our children about who we are and how we behave, hides scientific evidence and manipulates its people into looking down on us. There is no social group in America that faces as much misinformation, hatred and discrimination, so I would feel justified making my decision based on this issue. Ron Paul claims that he’s never been in the same room with someone smoking marijuana and has never known a user, yet he still sees us as human beings and respects our choices. This, to me, is indicative of a deeper intelligence. If the liberals cannot produce a candidate who sees me as a human being and respects me as a person, then sorry, I’m gonna go to the other side.
It seems odd that, as an anarchist, it took me a long time to warm up to Ron Paul, mostly because he’s a capitalist anarchist, which in my opinion, won’t work long-term (for the simple fact that someone has to print the money and there’s no way to ensure they won’t become corrupt) though I do think it would be preferable over our current system. I’m not a fan of money, so putting it in charge of everything scares me, so I understand why Ron Paul scares so many liberals, but again, I think it’s preferable to our current system. At least money works more consistently and with less bias than politicians. I’d prefer a world based on love, kindness, team-building, common goals, and peace, but I’d settle for a world that’s not based on insanity, and Ron Paul is the only one who has a plan to make that happen. It seems like most politicians and their supporters, both liberal and conservative, seem to be on the same basic page about many things. Everyone seems to feel like we have to keep the status-quo and just make the best of it. We’re in Iraq for better or worse. Let’s just make the best of it. Education is failing, but lets just try to tweak the current system because there couldn’t possibly be a better way. Our transportation system is in shambles, but lets just try to revive the auto industry. The banks are failing. Let’s just bail them out and move on. Ron Paul, though I don’t agree with everything he says, is the only candidate who has the balls to call for real, long-term change.
So Ron Paul is accused of wanting to “gut education”. At first when I heard this, it rubbed me the wrong way. My instinct is to say that there’s no way we can cut spending on education and just leave the next generation hanging. Now I’m thinking that’s unfair to assume that’s what Paul has in mind. There’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t want a transitional period and there’s no reason to believe that because he doesn’t support federally controlled education he doesn’t support education. The federal government has been doing an awful job with our education system so far. It’s so massive and inflexible that, as much as I hate corporations and capitalism, I think a dynamic, money-based system would leave fewer kids behind than our current system. It’s not my ideal, but it would be better than what we currently have or anything the liberals have suggested.
He’s also accused of being a racist. I think this is unfair as well, because when it comes to the bottom line, what really matters is do the policies that he supports benefit minorities and help them to live more equal lives? Perhaps there were a few newsletters that had some inappropriate language (BTW – how can liberals call pot smokers petty for voting based on our desire to smoke when they’re asking us to discredit a candidate over some wording in a couple newsletters he didn’t even write?). However, I think the fact that Ron Paul has the courage to speak out against the two most racist entities in America: the drug war and the death penalty is pretty good evidence that he’s not particularly racist. He also doesn’t want to blow people up just for being Muslim. Ron Paul actually changed his opinion on the death penalty because he learned how crazy racist it is. But the drug war is really where the racism lies in The United States. If you look at the actual statistics of how much marijuana is consumed by minorities versus how many are in prison, it’s pretty easy to argue the drug war is ludicrously racist. Ron Paul is the only one with the courage to speak out against this so I think it is tremendously unfair to accuse him of being racist.
The deal is similar with gay marriage. He believes the government has no right to dictate marriage, period. Regardless of what he believes about gay marriage himself, getting government out of marriage would be beneficial to the gay community. There are countless churches across the country who already perform gay marriages. Taking the issue out of government would put it square in the lap of the churches and the communities. The churches are not going to want to appear divided, the LGBT community is not going to back down, and the communities are not going to want to be assholes to people’s faces. It’s easy to be an asshole on the federal level. Much harder on the community level. Thus, gay marriage would flourish organically and people’s minds would change naturally, instead of forcing them into a perspective that would make them resentful of the gay community.
There’s a host of other issues I agree with him on, and I’ll hopefully be able to address those in upcoming posts, but it is worth mentioning that after watching many hours worth of Ron Paul speeches and interviews in the last couple weeks, Ron Paul still has not changed my positions on any single issue. Everything he’s saying, with the exception of the things I disagree with, are all things I’ve believed for over a decade. There are a few things I disagree with, of course. Abortion, for one, though he’s not a nut about it. He came to be pro-life because he cares about the rights of the person-to-be, compared to Obama, who is opposed to abortion because his religion tells him to be. Paul believes global warming is a myth, but again, he’s not the anti-environmentalist that people try to paint him as. Sure he considers creationism a possibility, though again, he’s reasonable about it and doesn’t see it as fact.
But all of these arguments pale in comparison to the real reason I’ve finally decided to support Ron Paul. Because he believes in peace. I’m thirty-three years old and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a serious political candidate who genuinely believes in peace. To me that’s more meaningful than anything else. He thinks aggression should be seen as an absolute last resort (this seems like common sense to me, but he appears to be the only one who sees it), and he’s consistent in this belief with his social policies, with the way he interacts with his enemies, right down to the fact that he didn’t spank his children. I’ve lived my entire life under the shadow of war, knowing it’s there, in the background, never being directly affected by it, but always wondering how truly horrifying it could be, but at the same time not wanting to know. I’m sick of knowing the rest of the world hates me because of the deeds of the nation where I was born. I’m sick and tired of seeing my tax dollars going toward racially and financially motivated, unconstitutional acts of worldwide aggression.
So the bottom line is I want a president who believes in peace and thinks I should be treated as a human being. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. In all fairness, I think Obama is the best president I could have hoped for out of any traditional candidates, but he’s not good enough for America. I want a man of peace in the white house.
But it’s not so much about the Presidency. Ron Paul isn’t particularly running for president. He’s running to present a new perspective, one which America desperately needs. He doesn’t stand much of a chance against Obama, even if he could beat Romney in the Primaries, so why not support his message of peace and freedom in the meantime? I don’t support everything he stands for, but the important parts are far too important to ignore, and I think the liberal community, and the world as a whole, would be well served to support, or at the very least, really examine his perspective.
“There’s something wrong when you’re more afraid of your neighbor than you are of your government.” – Ron Paul