COLUMN: Ron Paul is dangerous


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Ron Paul rather seductively characterizes himself as a crusader for personal freedom.

His hostile anti-government libertarian philosophy appeals to millions of voters, because it appears ostensibly to empower the individual.

"Once a government embarks on this notion that they can protect you from yourself, then there is no liberty left," Paul said during his speech on campus Saturday.

On the contrary, Paul has penned legislation every bit as directive and dangerous as the tyrannical federal government he purports to fight. There is a name for Paul’s less conventional tyranny. It’s called court-stripping.

By emasculating the federal court system up to and including the Supreme Court, Paul’s strategy allows for individual state governments to restrict civil liberties at will and without federal remedy. Rather than protecting civil liberties, Paul’s court-stripping subjects them to the whims of fervently partisan legislators and to the tyranny of the majority in the polling booth.

Paul takes special interest in “protecting you from yourself” if you’re either gay or a woman. Which is why he co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act of 2007, H.R. 724, a bill that removes from jurisdiction of federal courts the ability to hear cases related to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Like much of Paul’s legislation, the MPA simply shifts the task of restricting civil liberties from the federal government in favor of the state. Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act of 2007, H.R. 2597, does the same. Turning back the clock on nearly 40 years of women’s rights, Paul’s legislation, as his website claims, effectively repeals Roe v. Wade. The bill removes from federal jurisdiction the power to regulate abortion.

In addition to his attacks on gay rights and women’s health, Paul’s "We the People Act" of 2009, H.R. 539, targets the crown jewel of court-stripping: the separation of church and state. Paul’s bill would prevent federal courts from hearing "any claim involving the laws, regulations or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion." A state government could then, without federal legal remedy, establish a state religion and compel its citizens to worship therein.

Section three of the "We the People Act" forbids federal courts from hearing “any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation or reproduction.”

This would also overturn Griswold v. Connecticut, dealing a devastating blow to women’s reproductive rights. A state could then criminalize both homosexuality and the sale of birth control products without reproach from the federal government.

Paul uses his aggressive state’s rights philosophy to justify repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is among Paul’s most controversial positions, because it is so immediately repulsive. The Civil Rights Act is a flagship example of the proper role of the federal government in upholding civil liberties nationwide.

Women’s health, civil rights and religious freedom are stronger today because of federal protection. But the political will in the Republican Party to undermine these liberties is real and at a fever pitch.

When one person’s civil liberties are weakened, we are all weakened. However indirectly, by weakening the federal government, Paul and his likeminded colleagues threaten to erase the civil liberties Americans have fought so long for.

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