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Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

   snip--   a good read, here is a snip---


   "As Matt Stoller argued in a genuinely brilliant essay on the history of progressivism and the Democratic Party which I cannot recommend highly enough: “the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview.” Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.



  The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.


  The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.


  He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.


    Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

   The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious. I know it’s annoying and miserable to hear. Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception. These facts demonstrate that the leader progressives have empowered and will empower again has worked in direct opposition to those values and engaged in conduct that is nothing short of horrific. So there is an eagerness to avoid hearing about them, to pretend they don’t exist. And there’s a corresponding hostility toward those who point them out, who insist that they not be ignored.


    The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views.


23 Replies

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

No argument here from someone essentially of that persuasion. None. On stupid b-berry and no idea how to do links but conservative columnist Dohaut has an op-ed in the NY Times this AM that is a softened up for the casual mainstream reader version of this. Maybe somebody on a real machine can find it and put up a link.

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

  The Washington times and New York media is frothing at the mouth with outright lies and lies of distortion and deceit in the last two days, even trying to conger up a inSanitorum 'surge" hoping of creating some kind of bandwagon.  Shows how little respect they have for the intelligence of people in Iowa.   While some other writers who have been speaking to Iowans have noted no one is talking about the newsletter lies.


I'm looking forward to reading their thursday morning whining and lying efforts to fool the American People.


Senior Advisor

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

This brings to mind an interesting perspective. If our government was attemping to arrest Osama bin laden and bring him to trial and Bin Laden resisted arrest,or tried to escape, was our government justified in killing him as we would kill a alleged domestic murderer.


Would we have shot Tim Mcveigh if he ran away?


Johnaa, I will assume that IOwans as a whole are pretty intelligent folks except for those that will vote in the caucus tomorrow. Chances are that their choice in tomorrows caucus will not get the nomination or be elected. The iowa righties are extreme righties that are doing the work of God. A religious theocracy would be the choice of those voting tomorrow in Iowa. We the people will reject that.

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

  It will be interesting, I imagine a lot of people will be voting who would normally stay home because they really are not interested in the crap(religion and abortions) usually presented by the hacks. 


  I do not believe the voters who voted for change 4 years ago will turn out for Obummer nor any GOP candidate besides Paul.

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

Thanks for your efforts in bringing the ideas of Ron Paul and his "movement", if one can call it that, to this forum. The essay about the threat that Paul brings to progressive types, and their linear way of have to vote for the Democrat because the Republican is so  Baaaadddddd.... is a good essay. I thought that both Bruce and Kraft would have some sort of rebuttal to the essay, but both seem to recognize the truth in the article and how their "side" is as bad, if not worse, than the boys on the other side of the playing field. As one of the comments after the essay states...(a Ron Paul Candidacy would provide a moment of clarity , when contrasted with Obama, that we rarely see). Not a very good paraphrasing, but I think pretty accurate of what was said. Someone else wrote, I think a few months ago in Time Magazine, that a Rick Perry /Barack Obama candidacy was going to provide this contrast. This may have been true on social issues, but when it comes to foreign policy, only Paul and Cain seem to get it right, and they are both viscously attacked.


I was moving dirt, getting the base ready for a new machine shed , last week and had some conservative Iowa radio station on since it was the clearest reception. Must be a high powered station, probably northern Iowa, I think the call letters were something like WHO ..Something stupid. THe English accented radio host was attacking Ron Paul and his foreign policy ideas, and how the USA would not be secure with Ron Paul in dangerous his ideas are. Paul, according to the radio speaker, would set the stage for a nuclear Iran destroying us since these people, the Iranians in power, care not for their own lives but for their movement. and MAD (mutually assured destruction) would not work with them.


The problem with Paul seems to be that he is right about most issues and does not back down to curry favor. His son recently gave a speech where he talked about the integrity of his father, and how in all those decades in Congress, Dr. Paul has not taken even one congressional junket,.  Not one....our dime did not pay for even one vacation for Dr. Paul. Paul is not bought and paid for, and he is right. Obviously a very dangerous combination.



Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

Just a couple of being that if your read the article again you might be able to pick out where he says the he is talking about people who consider themelves to be progressives.  Victomhood driven reactionary liberals calling themselves progressives is every bit as much an act of co-option as religious exxtremists calling themselves "conservatives", despite the radicalism of their views and goals.


And both don and I have over the past few months here have recognized, given props to and referenced the Paul campaign with considerable frequenscy.  I can't speak for don, but it's the only one of those seeking that nomination...except for Roehmer who doesn't get any press or notice at all...that can be taken even the least bit seriously.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

Hey Red, I`ve had the opportunity to meet some new folks looking to break into politics and they seem to be on the right track, however they recognize that we can`t urn things on a dime.  The people themselves will have to change their mindset, read what the "progressives" on here say to see what a Herculean task that will be.  I guess we need to have the best people running put in office to capitalize when that change occurs.   We can`t get too caught up in Ron Paul because both the Rs and Ds will be against him, without congress backing him up he will be a "do nothing"one termer.  As long as there`s a "Bilderberg" or whatever you want to call the shadow government we will dance to their jig and if they want war, we will have war.  What would a President Paul do if there were a number of contrived bombings here that could be pinned on "Iranian terrorists"?  Paul would go to war or be impeached.  The cancer has to be cut out or we`re just playing musical chairs and the people aren`t ready, `til then vote for those that won`t ban your 30 rd magazines.  

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Glen Greenwald--- Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

Point taken, but my observations are that both you and Kraft like Paul because of the way he could split the Republican vote, and insure that "your team" remains in the white house, not out of any affection for him or the chance that he could actually usher in a new type of government.


To change government, we first have to change our views of what government should be. Paul believes in small government, and is the only viable hope from this years selections to help us inch back from the abyss. That part about him is totally against what you believe, along with most progressives.


He also believes, like the forgotten founding father Roger Williams, that a man's home should be his castle, free from interference from police and surveillance. Paul doesn't condone homosexuality, or drugs, but does not believe that the role of the government should be to criminalize consenting adult behaviours. The man does make a stand on abortion, because this is not really a private is a taking of human public health facilities.


Lots of issues, lots of viewpoints, and his age is not any help to him.