Note: My goal in posting this is (a) to explain why I do not think that the points brought up on Wendy McElroy's blog would make me hesitate to vote for Ron Paul, and (b) to acknowledge that Ron Paul has flaws in order to neutralize his flaws as issues (I don't want any Paul supporters to create such a perfect picture of him and to expect such perfection that any mistake he makes causes them to desert him). So please do not think that I am nitpicking Mr. Paul. I support him for President 100%.
Wendy McElroy questions Ron Paul's libertarian "purity" linking to this discussion on her bulletin board.
While some of the facts presented seem a little disturbing, some of them do not bother me at all. For example, I am not an advocate of open borders, so voting for building a fence is in my opinion a point in his favor.
Other things, like the partial-birth abortion issue, are somewhat disconcerting, in that if Paul voted for regulating it, it would go against his commitment to the enumerated powers of the federal government, unless he was using some fourteenth amendment argument for equal rights for the fetus - but that seems unlikely, as he has publicly said that abortion should be a state issue.
His vote for the price controls ("negotiation") on the Medicare bill is less disturbing in my opinion when you hear his explanation, which was "if we're going to spend it, we might as well get a good price"). It is also possible that he hoped that this would lead to large nunmbers of prescription drugs not being funded under Medicare (as the pharmaceutical companies might refuse to offer their drugs under the Medicare program if they couldn't get a good price) and thus weaken the program.
Remember, without the "price negotiations" the bill is largely a way for the drug makers to pocket huge profits from the federal government. Letting a private company take more taxpayer money is not inherently more libertarian than regulating its participation in a government handout program (assuming that the program itself is going to exist whatever you do).
The one thing that really disturbed me, of course, was Paul's comments that:
Bush ran on a platform of a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, not policing the world. Instead we’re spending a trillion dollars a year to maintain the power of our empire around the world. We need that money for education and medical care here. (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Austro-Athenian Empire for the transcript).
Unlike this Freeper, I am certain that he did not intend to say that the government should be spending money on education and health care (although in regards to health care, Paul has said that Medicare would have to be transitioned out, it could not just be ended instantly). Previously in the debate, he alluded to the fact that publicly-funded health care and education were one of the problems in regards to illegal immigration:
We subsidise illegal immigration with amnesty, birthright citizenship, and publicly-fund education and health care. We do need immigrant workers, but if we had a genuine free market they wouldn’t be the scapegoat.
Presumably he meant that the taxpayers needed the money to pay for their own education and health care. In previous debates, he has often misspoken (in the famous remark at the Fox debates about our policy being part of what motivated the 9/11 hijackers he said "Non-intervention was a major contributing factor" when he clearly meant to say that intervention was a major contributing factor). In any case, I really think that he ought to clarify himself on the "education and healthcare" statement quickly.
That is all.