Conservative

Antonucci: Ron Paul provides vital, alternative perspective

Former Congressman Ron Paul’s political career has always been a big interest of mine since I first began following politics, and more so since I became so fascinated by the conservative media landscape. That’s mainly because it’s almost always treated Ron Paul strangely: ignoring him.

Why is he ignored? Because despite being very popular among libertarians, his blunt honesty often cuts through many of the common lies in the right-wing info sphere. Ironically enough, these ideas could very well help improve Republican appeal if they were heard more. It’s also the reason I’m so excited to hear he’ll be speaking at Syracuse University on March 26.

One moment almost four years ago at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference captures my point almost perfectly. Many major conservatives were still fans of calling Obama a socialist, and still are today. But when Ron Paul took stage, he outright said that, in an actual economic sense, Obama wasn’t a socialist. Instead, he was a corporatist, working to bring more power to corporate interests instead of the people through the military-industrial complex, through major financial institutions and recently to medical institutions with the Affordable Care Act.

So why would the conservative media ignore this? Because he quickly points out that there are corporatists in the Republican party as well, often even more so than among Democrats. He also said Republicans shouldn’t try to full-out repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead work to improve it, mainly by removing the individual mandate.

Considering how much the conservative media has been doing to stir up as much pure rage against Obama and his signature legislation for years, these kinds of blunt ideas by Ron Paul almost always have been, and still are, ignored to keep their message consistent, despite how correct they usually are.

There are plenty of other reasons the conservative media overlook Ron Paul when they can. He’s criticized former President Reagan for the Iran-Contra Affair and their negotiations with terrorists. He’s been against the Iraq War from the very beginning. He’s supported cutting foreign aid to all countries, including Israel. He’s never flip-flopped on a single belief he holds. He’s OK with abortion, gay marriage or prostitution if a state decides to legalize them, even if he personally disagrees.

Perhaps biggest of all, he’s largely against any major government support amidst a free market, including the bailout the big banks got after the economic collapse, when their losses were socialized while their profits were kept privatized.

It’s a shame Ron Paul has so little spotlight, since there’s a lot of principles most young people can agree with him on. Leaving major social issues to the states and having faith in individuals to make their own decisions, just to start with. Plus, his repeated support for ending the war on drugs would obviously make many college students happy.

While there’s plenty of things I disagree about with Ron Paul (I’m still not sold on ending the Federal Reserve), there’s an undeniable authenticity you don’t come across with many politicians. When other major Republican politicians preach about believing in freedom, it’s just an empty buzzword to rile up a crowd instead of an actual reflection of their policies.

Ron Paul isn’t like that. He talks about freedom and liberty, and you can tell that most, if not all, of his political beliefs are honestly based off that. He’s not perfect, and there’d still be problems to deal with in his ideal libertarian society, but that’s true with anybody’s beliefs. It’s refreshing to see a politician on the right side of the aisle that genuinely believes in liberty. It’s something that all SU students, whatever their beliefs, will enjoy seeing.

Max Antonucci is a junior newspaper and online journalism major. His column appears weekly.You can find him on Twitter @DigitalMaxToday or email him at meantonu@syr.edu.

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