Super Tuesday was a little bit of a disappointment for Ron Paul supporters. Even the campaign is admitting frustration and saying that he is highly unlikely to win the Republican nomination. The most they can hope for is some attention at the convention. Of course, aside from politics, Ron Paul can keep expressing the message of liberty and changing hearts and minds. Here are my thoughts on what the campaign should do going forward.
In the last debate, Ron Paul was discussing war and foreign policy. He said that he had already tried the moral argument and the constitutional argument, so now he would try the economic argument. He is certainly correct that these wars will eventually come to an end anyway, due to economics.
While he and his campaign team have certainly tried different tactics in explaining his non-interventionist foreign policy, there is more that can be done and should be done in regards to the moral arguments against war.
There is no doubt that appealing to people’s self-interest is an effective tactic in persuasion. However, while most people who support Ron Paul know that they would be better off as individuals in an environment of liberty, they also support Paul and his philosophy for moral reasons.
Ron Paul is the only candidate who thinks we should end the federal income tax. Ron Paul’s biggest supporters are younger people with lower incomes. Many of his supporters pay absolutely no federal income taxes, yet they support him and the policies he advocates, even though they will not directly benefit from an elimination of federal income taxes (even though there would be huge indirect benefits).
The whole point is that, while some people will support a candidate purely out of perceived self-interest, many people support certain candidates for other reasons.
In regards to the issue of war, the immorality of war is the strongest reason to be against it. Most Americans believe it is wrong to kill another human being, unless it is purely in self-defense. When the U.S. government wages war on another country, innocent people are being killed through no fault of their own.
One might say that if the people of Iraq or Afghanistan had not allowed crazy leaders to run their countries, then it wouldn’t have happened. But this is a collectivist argument. No innocent individual should be held accountable for the actions of their government. After all, that is the reason that the attacks on September 11, 2001 were so wrong. The terrorists were attacking innocent people for the actions of their government.
Right now, the war drums are getting louder with respect to Iran and Syria. The people in these countries do not deserve to die at the hands of U.S. bombs. Even if the so-called leaders of those countries were a threat (even though they aren’t), it should then be those individuals who are targeted. No innocent people should have to die.
If someone in America were to commit a crime and then run into a crowded building, would it be appropriate for the police and military to start bombing the building? Of course not, because you don’t want to take innocent life. The same rules should apply to any innocent life, including foreigners.
Ron Paul has made significant strides, just in the past four years. There are still many Republicans who call themselves fiscal conservatives, but they cannot support Ron Paul because of his foreign policy views.
As Tom Woods has previously pointed out, you aren’t going to trick anyone into voting for Ron Paul. The only way to win these people over is by changing their minds. Not only would this garner more votes for Paul, but it would also help liberty in the future. It might even be the difference between the U.S. going to war with Iran or not.
In my humble opinion, if I were in charge of the Ron Paul campaign, I would spend the rest of the advertising money for the campaign on advocating a non-interventionist foreign policy and using morality as the primary argument.
Imagine a commercial that shows the streets of Iran. It shows the buildings and infrastructure. It shows the beautiful mountains and ski slopes. It shows people in the streets doing business with each other. It shows teenagers sitting and laughing at a cafe. It shows people skiing and playing soccer. It shows little kids going to school and playing in parks. It shows some of these faces up close. At the end of the commercial, it says, “Why would anyone want to kill any of these people? They do not want to kill us.”
Most Americans are good and decent people. They will understand this message. They will see those innocent faces the next time some politician suggests that we need to start bombing Iran.