Ignoring Evil

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

I’m not a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson, although I believe she has an incredibly powerful voice and is remarkably gifted. After all of the back-and-forth between myself and several Ron Paul supporters, though, I was surprised to see this on her Twitter feed, retweeted by someone I follow:

I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.

Now I’m going to tell you what I believe to be the most insidious problem with Paul and those who support him. It’s not the racist and homophobic statements from his newsletters in the 1990’s (a ghostwriter made several comments in more than one of his newsletters that were outrageously racist and homophobic, and at the time Paul defended them – it wasn’t until 2008 that he denied them, and he has thus far refused to clarify the disparity between then and now). It’s not even his wishy-washy “sure, I’ll stand with the twoofers…oops, shouldn’t have done that!” two-step. It’s not even his belief that we shouldn’t have gone to war with either Iraq or Afghanistan, or his outrageous claim that 70% of the troops support him. All of those things get under my skin in a hurry, but the worst is unbelievable to me.

Ron Paul believes that we should never enact sanctions or refuse to trade with any nation. He believes we should open up all trade with all nations, including Iran, the Palestinians, and Cuba.

Think about that for just a moment. There are a number of things he has said in the past that I can agree with. I have no use for the UN. NAFTA was a spectacularly poor idea from the outset – I don’t think that even looked good on paper. We have far too many government programs and organizations that run afoul of the Constitution in every sense. I believe that abortion is wrong and the federal government needs to get its grubby fingers out of education. But when he starts talking about doing business with nations whose human rights records are unspeakably horrific, I can’t listen.

His reason – and that of his followers – is that people should be free to choose their own path. People should be allowed to make their own choices, and it’s not up to us to decide who is right and who is wrong. Okay…if that is your stance, then why do we have prisons? Why do we send people to jail for things like robbery, rape and murder? Why put them away and strip them of their civil liberties? Who are we to decide who is right and who is wrong?

Paul would openly do business with countries headed by despots who will blow nearly a cool million just on cognac while their people starve and go blind with diseases that are easily and inexpensively avoided in civilized nations. He would open up trade routes with dictators who order torture and imprisonment for political dissidents – including 8-year-old boys, as Saddam did when a young boy playing in his classroom accidentally knocked a picture of Saddam off of a wall. He would restart trade with depraved “leaders” who run their nations under Sharia and allow the beating, starvation, stoning, hanging and/or beheading of any person accused of engaging in homosexual relationships.

Paul and his believers seem to think that if we back off and play nice, the rest of the world will leave us alone. Not true. And if we actually believe that negotiating trade with countries that commit unbelievable crimes is going to persuade them to clean up their act, we are deluded at best. I don’t think we should be doing business with China, but we’re doing a hell of a lot of it and they even own billions of dollars in US debt (that’s a whole blog post in and of itself). That, to me, ranks right up there with giving the entire world a peek at our nuclear arsenal.

During the 1930’s, the Japanese attacked China during the second Sino-Japanese war. The Japanese had already forced China to give up Korea and Taiwan; how they wanted the mainland. During the second war, the Japanese committed atrocities that could not be ignored. While the Japanese bombed Chongqing and raped Nanking, other nations refused to give aid to China because they felt the Chinese were going to lose and they didn’t want to piss off the Japanese. America, however, did give aid to China, and we refused to trade with Japan – parituclarly for oil, which Japan started to run out of quite rapidly. That was why Japan bombed us at Pearl Harbor. It was a classic, “I’m going to assault you until you give me what I want” sort of action.

If a mugger hits you and pulls a knife or a gun, most people today would simply give him what he wants to make him go away and tell the police later. What they don’t know is that when you do that, it’s unlikely that the mugger will be caught. It’s almost guaranteed that they will keep doing it until someone finally does fight back and they go to jail. In the same way, if we hadn’t fought back against Japan, they would have kept killing us until we did give them what they were after. Also during WWII, Hitler signed a treaty with the Soviet Union – but years later, once Hitler had taken over nearly the whole of mainland Europe and he had enough power to do it, he turned on his ally and tried to take over Russia.

You cannot try to appease a monster and hope that he won’t come after you when he gets hungry again. It always backfires. THAT is what I believe is the most frightening aspect of Paul’s political beliefs. If we ignore the evil acts of others, we might as well be complicit in them.

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12 thoughts on “Ignoring Evil

  1. This is also one of the big issues I have with Ron Paul. He seems to be of the mind that good and evil are all…relative, oh how I hate that word.

    His view on personal freedom is admirable, but he takes it much to far. To the point of impotency, which is not the sort of president we need.

    What we need is to apply requirements to aid and trade, not sanctions. Tell countries, “If you clean up your act on all of these counts, THEN we will talk about trade. And if you refuse, we will NEVER trade with you and we will actively ask other countries to do the same.”

    We can use the power of America in ways other than military (one thing I agree with, to a point, Ron Paul on) to make the world a better place. Paul doesn’t seem to realize that there is a middle ground between refusing trade and trading with everyone, no matter how awful the countries are.

  2. As you portray Paul, Mel, appeasing monsters, and hoping predatory instinct will abate, is the ground-hog vs his shadow interpretation. It is a parochial version of life. “If we ignore the evil acts of others, we might as well be complicit in them.” is why we draft laws for own own lives, but set the standards of expectations as to how we’ll be treated by others. Take this from the Barbary pirates, justified by their theocratic hostility to the present.
    Meredith invites us into a more positive interpretation of dealing with those beyond our shores. “What we need is to apply requirements to aid and trade, not sanctions.”
    We bring goods to the tables of those whom we’d never invite to sit at our own.
    It would be better to have them show us their good will on their own. We shouldn’t have to teach table while our own kitchens are putting out our best.

  3. Our military isn’t just out there trying to make the world a better place. Yes, that is a part of their mission, and they will tell you that; but a big part of their mission is to defend us. As I mentioned, I have no use for the UN. I don’t think our military should be used as the world’s police force, but when a terrorist act is committed against us I believe firmly in taking out the government entity responsible for harboring and aiding that organization. That teaches everyone else a lesson: do not screw with us. It’s the same reason why I carry a gun. I hope not to use it, but if someone has the balls to try to mug me, I will double-tap him until he stops trying to do harm to me.

    Sanctions are essentially a restriction on trade. That is us cracking down on any and all trade and refusing to do business with anybody who does trade with that nation. Unless there’s something else in there that I’m not seeing…

  4. Mel: I completely agree, we should be willing to attack those that attack us, but in the case of many of the countries we have sanctions on, they have not actively done anything to our country. We have issues with their governments, but we are not actively at war with them.

    However, we could choose to get them to make changes to their own economies by telling them to clean up their act to get trade, instead of just saying ‘we won’t trade with you’.

    I admit that I’m not as well versed in sanctions as I should be. Perhaps what I’m proposing is exactly how US sanctions are worded, in that case I am in favor of the sanctions we have.

  5. I do believe we need to punish those countries that harbor terrorists who attack us. To me, that is the same thing as having declared war against us. If these nations learn that, perhaps they’ll stop supporting terrorists.

    The only time I advocate sending troops to help other countries fight for freedom and democracy is when those countries are ready, willing and able to fight alongside us. If we have to fight that particular battle for them, but they are unable (or unwilling) to defend their freedoms thereafter, then we’ll be expending our own blood and treasure to prop them up forever. Any country that wants freedom and self-determination must be willing to fight not only to get it, but to keep it.

    That’s the way we did it, and that’s the only way America has survived.

  6. Mel, I rarely disagree with you and I am not disagreeing per se. But here is where I get stuck.

    In nearly every nation on Earth it is illegal for the people who live in a given nation to rebel and try to overthrow the sittting government through force. Such a thing is known as treason. That is not a bad law to have. But, look how the U.S. applies it.

    It is o.k. for governments we like to defend themselves from their own people. Thailand has an insurrection. The Phillippines has one too. Both governments are battling these rebels as they are called. We support these efforts.

    But if we hate a particular nation such as Libya or Syria then it is not o.k. for those governments to defend themselves. That is a bad thing. It is waging war on your own people. Why the inconsistentcy? Bad yet recognized leaders can’t defend their rule? They get called names. Yet good rulers in Thailand and the Phillippines get glad handed for doing the same thing?

    I don’t support Ron Paul nor do I support dropping sanctions. But the U.S. does not have as much room as it thinks it does to name call and perhaps Rand Paul is using an extreme way of pointing that out.

  7. The weight I tend to use is whether the government or the insurgents is incorrect – and yes, we do have the ability to determine whose human rights record is more egregious. Were it the government committing atrocities, I’d say hell yeah to the insurrection. In the Philippines, though – the insurrection is the brutality. They’re the ones killing people just to make a point.

    It’s not merely about calling names, it’s about calling someone out when they are wrong.

  8. China just ditched the U.S. Dollar. No other candidate for the nomination is fit to be president at this point. Sorry, doll. You are on the wrong side of this one. 😦

    Ron Paul, 2012.

  9. Sorry, “doll”, but I’m not. I don’t think we should have been doing business with China in the first place. I’m VERY fiscally conservative – to the point that Bush’s economic policies were kryptonite to me. As I said, there are some things that Paul says that I can agree with; others, though, make him nuttier than a squirrel turd.

  10. Yes, you are definitely on the wrong side of this one. He is the only sane and honorable man in the race. But I understand why you can’t accept that.

    I live my life in truth, and have little time for anything else, so I’ll leave you be now.

    Ron Paul, 2012.

  11. Sane and honorable…really? You mean in the way that a man would have a ghostwriter who writes racist, homophobic newsletters for him, then first defend what was written, and years later deny it and never make any attempt to explain the disparity?

    Or in that honorable way a man accepts the endorsement of white supremacists? Yeah, that’s honorable.

  12. Sanctions and trade are not necessarily synonymous. Trade is meant to be a mutually beneficial thing. Sanctions are more about diplomacy more akin to aid than trade.

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