It appears that Ron Paul's campaign in South Carolina has met a serious setback. During the Republican debate last night, he received a few rounds of intermittent "boos" because of his espousing of the golden rule. Apparently, this enclave of neo-conservatives isn’t too fond of respect, national sovereignty, or reciprocation in kind for aggression. Of course, this is in the heart of the Bible Belt, yet none of these “individuals” had qualms with principles, in regards to war, which has been a longstanding tradition in every branch of Christianity.
I suppose he would’ve been better off proposing that we invade Iraq again. The media has cast our candidate as an enemy of America, and enemy of strength, and an enemy of American government. But I’d like to counter that dispersion of his candidacy. Who is the greater threat in regards to American rule of law? A president who uses Summary Judgment to kill American citizens, a 16 year old, just because his relative is exercising the first amendment? This is a creepy throwback to the times of The Alien and Sedition Act of 1918, in which it became illegal to criticize the government of the United States. Regardless of the content or incendiary nature of speech, or even speech meant to inflame, subvert, or destroy the United States, should still be legal. The idea that jailing(or in this case, turning them into Middle-Eastern meat smithereens) dissidents will make them go away is not only irrational, but it fails to end the dissent. How do you think Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaida recruit? How do you think the surrounding citizens of Yemen feel when a house suddenly isn’t there, and you know your government has no way to stop attacks that destroy its sovereignty?
Jailing and bombing people who you disagree with only gives more merit to their arguments, and decreases the strength and appreciation of whatever institution you are a part of. In Algeria, the French equivalent of the American experience in Vietnam’s harsh jungles, the torture of the native populous by French Special Forces didn’t result in enclaves of secret information being exposed: rather, it resulted in public outcry and only increased the demands that they leave.
If we are to succeed, or at least mitigate, the effects of terrorists, Islamic extremists, and nationalistic seperatists, we must jail them for crimes they have committed, and nothing more. That is the only way our “War on Terror” can be solved.