Friday, January 11, 2008

Ron Paul on 9/11 Truthers

CAMERON: Congressman Paul, many of your supporters call themselves 9/11 Truthers. They believe that the U.S. government was in some way complicit with the 9/11 attacks or covered it up.

Are you tonight prepared to either embrace that rhetoric or ask those supporters to abandon it, or divorce themselves from your candidacy?

PAUL: Well, I can't tell people what to do, but I've abandoned those viewpoints.

Does this mean that Ron Paul used to think 9/11 was an inside job?


  1. Does this mean that people cannot hold certain points of view and then reject them?

  2. It's a question of Ron Paul's judgment. He's not a twenty-something. He's a 72 year-old, ten-term Congressman.

  3. "I've abandoned" is ambiguous. It could mean he was duped but eventually saw through it, or it could mean that he simply considered the matter seriously and eventually realized that there was nothing upon which to base further concerns.

  4. Looking purely at semantics, it does imply that he used to hold that position. Yes, he should have been more careful with his words if he didn't intend to imply that. But I think it was probably a mistake while trying to give a quick, sharp answer to match the question.

    You mentioned, a few posts ago, Ron Paul's position on abortion. I didn't give a satisfying response to that. My response is on my blog, but it isn't very argumentative. Its more of a request for help and advice on these issues. I would appreciate it if you have time to contribute your thoughts.

  5. To TF & Stephen:

    Yes, it’s possible that RP misspoke. The TV debate format hardly favors measured, rational discourse. And it favors younger speakers over older speakers.

    If, however, he misspoke, then it’s up to him to clarity his previous position.

    To Stephen:

    Several issues:

    1.I didn’t initiate the issue of abortion. I was responding to another commenter who made RP’s prolife position a reason to vote for him.

    I then asked what RP’s position would actually amount, as a practical matter, given his libertarian strictures.

    2.At present, there is insufficient political will to effect a national ban on abortion.

    3.However, Huckabee has the eloquence to change the national dialogue. He might or might succeed, but if anyone can begin to convince voters of the evils of abortion, it is he.

    And if he lacks the persuasive powers to do that, then Ron Paul would be even less effective.

    Again, it’s not a question of whether Huckabee could pull this off single-handedly. But he might begin to shift public opinion.

    4.In principle, one doesn’t need a Constitutional amendment to effect a national ban on abortion. In principle, an act of Congress would suffice.

    5.Of course, the obstacle to (4) is Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings reaffirming Roe v. Wade. There are basically two ways to deal with Roe v. Wade:

    i) Nominate conservative judges. That would also require GOP control of the Senate to push it through.

    ii) Disregard Roe v. Wade. The Constitution never empowers the Supreme Court to strike down an act of Congress. That’s a tradition.

    It would be nice to see the Executive and Legislative branches buck that tradition—which subverts popular sovereignty.

    Mind you, none of the GOP candidates has, to my knowledge, proposed anything that iconoclastic.

  6. Thanks. I am becoming more fond of Huckabee, as I take into account the situational perspective rather than a purely normative one. Maybe we have strayed too far from our roots for a severe scaling back of the federal government to really be the best option.

    Huckabee would definitely have more persuasive power than Paul. Persuasion from the top down. Paul would say persuasion rightly starts from the bottom up. Arguing for either side is not as simple as I sometimes like to think. This debate has been going on since the founding of our country.

  7. His next line makes it abundantly clear what he believes - "I don't believe that, and that's the only thing that is important. And so I don't endorse anything they say" - you would do well to quote it.

    Given the nature of a Q&A and given his explicit statements, your reading is rather ungracious and unfortunate. You remind me a bit of when I was college, made a profession of faith, and all the guys in the dorm were waiting for me to mess up. It spoke of them then it did of me.

  8. Scottie said:

    "His next line makes it abundantly clear what he believes - 'I don't believe that, and that's the only thing that is important. And so I don't endorse anything they say' - you would do well to quote it."

    A straw man argument. The question I explicitly raised is not what he "believes," but what he "believed." You would do well to learn the difference between past tense and present tense, as well as paying attention to what I actually wrote.

  9. Again, your reading is most ungracious and my response is not a strawman. Do you not know what a strawman is?

    I'll be done interacting with you, because you will respond just to respond. It's not a conversation in the least, but simply an individual with an ego and need to be right, at any cost.

  10. Scottie wrote:

    “I'll be done interacting with you, because you will respond just to respond. It's not a conversation in the least, but simply an individual with an ego and need to be right, at any cost.”

    Why is it acceptable for you to post the sort of personal criticisms of Steve that you’ve been posting in the most recent threads, yet it’s not acceptable for him to criticize you or apply your reasoning to your own arguments (what you dismiss as an “I know you are, but what am I” approach)? If you can criticize him (for example, “Too bad his [John Frame’s] character didn't rub off more on you”), then why can’t he criticize you? And if you use an argument, thus demonstrating that it’s an argument you consider valid, what’s wrong with Steve’s use of that argument in response? What’s wrong with turning an opponent’s reasoning against him?

    Steve’s distinction between what Ron Paul believed in the past and what he believes now is a distinction that makes sense, and it’s one that Steve included in this discussion in his first post. Reread the concluding sentence of the first post in this thread. Why is it unreasonable for Steve to reiterate a distinction that his argument has been based on from the start?

    As far as Steve’s “ego” is concerned and whether he wants to “be right, at any cost”, I don’t know how you arrived at that judgment, but you aren’t giving us much reason to agree with it. Is his response to the other participants in this thread, in which he acknowledged that Ron Paul might have misspoken, for example, an instance of “responding just to respond”? Did he respond to those other people with the “I know you are, but what am I” approach that you claim that he always takes? No, he didn’t. You should reread your own posts to see why he’s responding to you differently than he responds to other people. Your first post in this thread, for example, begins by ignoring his distinction between what Ron Paul used to believed and what he believes now. And you go on to refer to how Steve would “do well” to quote more of what Ron Paul said. You then accuse him of being “ungracious”. Then you compare him to some people in your college dorm who were looking for you to sin. If you begin a discussion with Steve by misrepresenting his argument, telling him that he would “do well” to change his approach, accusing him of being “ungracious”, and comparing him to some college students who want to see people sin, then how do you expect him to respond to you?

  11. I confess I don't know a lot about Ron Paul's voting history on many issues, or what his stand on 9/11 used to be.
    I do know Mike Huckabee claimed a theology degree, but now has staffers explaining what exactly he meant since he does not have one. Does this mean we should again be prepared to have a liar in the White house if Huckabee is elected. Maybe it is just part of the eloquence he speaks with-what does Paul say in 1 Corinthians "about excellence of speech?" Is anyone so blind that they believe Huckabee's eloquence of speech will transform this nation.
    We desperately need one who is not part of a "political machine." This should be self evident as we look where we are as a country while having either of the major parties in control.