Friday, December 30, 2011

Hookers, and Homos, and Drugs... Oh my!!!

This is my LOOONG overdue post about Ron Paul's stance on prostitution, drug use, and gay marriage.  Oh its going to be so much fun, and stir so much controversy!!!  I can't wait....

Seriously though, his stance on all three of these subjects is seriously misunderstood, especially among the LDS (Mormon) community.  It is to this group that I address my thoughts.

To start, lets do an activity.  Get a piece of paper and write down one issue that you both a) feel strongly about; and b) worry that the Federal Government is abusing its power to control.  Now this can be anything, whether it is government bans and control on Home-birth, or banning the sale and consumption of raw milk, or banning religious emblems on public property, or anything that tends to get you worked up about government intrusions into the populace's every day life.  Take a few minutes and think about it, then write it down.  Got it?

Okay, if you have this subject written down put it aside for just a few moments, we'll get back to it in just a moment.

First and foremost this should be stated very, very clearly:  Dr. Ron Paul in no way endorses or encourages people of any kind to engage in drug use, to hire prostitutes, or to marry people of the same gender.  He is a devout Christian, and believes that those behaviors are unhealthy, immoral, and wrong.  HOWEVER- he also believes that it is immoral and wrong to force those decisions on other people.  He strongly believes that you cannot force people to do good things, and you cannot force salvation on them.  Ironically, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also has that same view.  Salvation and redemption cannot be forced upon those who do not want to receive them.  It is to members of the LDS church that I will be making my comments today.

I was going to address each of these issues individually, but as I was writing I realized that all of my arguments in defense of Ron Paul's stance on these things boiled down to the same basic ingredients no matter what the topic was.  (1)  We all have a God-given right to agency.  (2)  Our federal government was not designed to interfere in these types of matters.  (3)  If we allow our individual States to dictate their own policy on these issues then WE as people actually have more control.

(1)  Agency is a right given to us by our Supreme Creator.  It is not something that any governmental force on earth has even the remotest authority to take away.  There are (and always have been) some things that we can do to take away our own agency- such as taking the life of another person.  This crime has (historically speaking) always been worthy of death.  Justice in all her wisdom demands blood for blood.  Rape was met with similar consequences.  One of the reasons for the seemingly harsh reaction is that those two acts take away a person's agency in very real and literal ways.  Death isn't something easily recovered from.  The long term affects of being raped are legion, and very often they are things from which the victim will suffer for the rest of their lives.  When a person chooses to murder or rape they in essence abdicate their own rights to agency- to choose how they will spend the rest of their lives.  Justice must always be satisfied, and in those cases the government has a responsibility to step in.  Those types of situations are the reason that we have a government at all.  There are of course other things that a government has jurisdiction over, but all in all a government's main responsibility is to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens.  Anything else is outside of it's authority.  Including prostitution.  And drug use.  And homosexuality.

2)  Our Founding Fathers created a very limited government for a reason.  They had already experienced what an over grown bureaucracy was like, and they didn't want the new government to be set up the same way.  For that reason they set up a government that had three separate branches: The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial branches of the government, with each branch's responsibilities very clearly defined.  The purpose was for each branch to be a check to the other two branches, and to create an even balance of power (hence the phrase "checks and balances").  Each branch had its responsibilities defined and limited to not only prevent the gathering of all power into one (or a few) powerful hands, but to also ensure that the rights of the States to govern themselves would not be infringed.

3)  Think of this for a moment:  How much better would the State of Utah be if they were able to pass laws about the sale and consumption of alcohol within state lines?  The laws that any state can make regarding alcohol are very few because of the massive backlash against prohibition.  We need to remember: If we can make an amendment to the constitution that completely criminalizes a specific behavior or action to protect people from their vices, then the amendment can also be over turned to completely legalize that issue regardless of what individual states want.  The government is not here to protect us from vice, we have religion for that.  The government is here to protect the individual rights of all its citizens, no matter what they believe or what they choose to do.  When we keep matters out of Federal hands, and keep it localized to our States WE actually have more control over the outcomes.  Don't believe me?  Try writing to, or calling your Representative to Congress.  What sort of reply does the "Average American" get for their efforts?  Usually a form letter, and some sort of automated response.  Why is that?  Well, they have a LOT of constituents, and even though they are supposed to represent YOU they don't actually want you to bug them about anything, they want you to just follow.  If you were to try to write to your State Representative, the story is slightly different.  His (or her) constituency is much smaller, he spends more time actually among the voting population, and he sees the needs of the individual communities.  If you were to threaten to not vote for your State Rep he would take it quite seriously because he knows that you have family and friends that you could easily sway from his potential voters.  If you were to threaten your Congressman with the same thing he would probably laugh at you unless you were the head of some sort of large influential organization.  If that were the case he would be spending extra time pandering to your wishes and making sure you and he were on the "same page" when it came to issues, because then you would actually have influence.  Is this what we want?  Is this how we want our nation and our states to be run?  It is preposterous!  Granting the Federal Government MORE power only means that WE have less of a voice.  The only people who genuinely want that are people in positions of power and corruption who want laws passed that will increase their wealth and power, not equalize wealth and power across the board.

Okay, now we are back to the beginning.  Remember the activity, writing down an important issue to you?  Take that piece of paper and throw it and and imagine what would happen if the Federal government made ___(insert issue here)___ completely illegal.  Would you be outraged?  Upset?  Scared?  You should be.  The government just took something that was important to you and made YOU a criminal if you did it.  Something that wasn't hurting anyone else, or infringing on their rights.  Let's say it was public display of religious emblems.  Anyone who wears a cross on public property could be subject to criminal action.  Pastors and preachers could be harassed, persecuted, and fined.  Any religion that engages in proselyting could be subject to government sanctions.  When we allow the government to gather enough power to take away the rights of a group of people we open the door the government doing it to EVERYONE, not just the segment of society with whom we happen to disagree.

When you protect other's rights, even when you disagree with their choices, you are protecting your own.

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