Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rep. Ron Paul on Bill Maher Show

On Friday Mar. 30 Bill Maher had Congressman Ron Paul on his show for an interview. Although Paul was elected a Republican he is a Libertarian and, although Maher thinks of himself as a libertarian he was shocked by some of Paul's stands: Paul had the temerity to suggest that the CIA should be abolished! Maher thought this was just much too extreme and actually stated that he feels a lot safer knowing there's a CIA! Maher is hilarious and I never miss his show but some of his political positions are ludicrous. He actually feels SAFER knowing there's a CIA! What an idiot. Paul rightly pointed out that the CIA has got us into many problems including the overthrow of the constitutional Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953 for which many Iranians still hate us. Given the history of absolutely botched intelligence in our recent history Maher really must not have given much thought to this. The greatest threat to America's freedom and perhaps even to America's future existence is the military-intelligence-industrial complex. Eisenhower had that figured out in 1960! Maher's 'libertarianism' is apparently only about a micron deep.

Paul also had said that he thought we shouldn't have fought the US Civil War and Maher again was just shocked by this opinion. I myself have given some thought to this question and don't think it is absolutely clear that the Civil War was on balance a good thing. The one thing that came of it that was good was freedom for the slaves but otherwise what was so great about it? Lincoln's original goal was to preserve the union NOT to free the slaves. He was only pushed to emancipation by the circumstances of a prolonged Civil War; if the North had suceeded militarily sooner the slaves would not have been freed. What would have been so awful, other than slavery, if the South had seceded? They would still have been most economically tied to the North because of our proximity. There was nothing sacred about the union; it had been formed by a very close vote when the Constitution was adopted and there were some shenanigans about the voting that took place for the Constitution. If it took a vote to form the union why shouldn't some states secede later if they so chose? Apparently Bill Maher's "libertarianism" is mostly about freedom to use drugs, sexual freedom, and freedom to be atheistic. I support all of these freedoms as well but for him to be so shocked that someone would think the CIA should be abolished and the Civil War was maybe not such a great idea demonstrates how thin his libertarianism is.


KyoshiWLA said...

I'm shocked that your posts don't receive more comments. I enjoy your writing and your perspective, especially your analysis of "the conservative." Your writing has helped clarify and bolster some of my own thoughts, and has adjusted others that had been poorly informed. Great stuff. And I agree with you about Maher. Funny but micron deep. And Paul's position about the Civil War, that other nations had abolished slavery without having to fight a civil war to do it, was especially trenchant. Maher was agog again.

James A Bond said...

I'm not sure there are too many of us who are that concerned about the misusage of "conservative" in contemporary America. I think people should be more concerned. I was gratified that Geoffrey Nunberg the linguist agreed with what I said about his misusage of the term when I criticized it in his book, "Talking Right". See his comment below. Since he's a linguist and a consultant to a dictionary I was glad to see he agreed.