Ignoring Evil

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

I’m not a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson, although I believe she has an incredibly powerful voice and is remarkably gifted. After all of the back-and-forth between myself and several Ron Paul supporters, though, I was surprised to see this on her Twitter feed, retweeted by someone I follow:

I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.

Now I’m going to tell you what I believe to be the most insidious problem with Paul and those who support him. It’s not the racist and homophobic statements from his newsletters in the 1990’s (a ghostwriter made several comments in more than one of his newsletters that were outrageously racist and homophobic, and at the time Paul defended them – it wasn’t until 2008 that he denied them, and he has thus far refused to clarify the disparity between then and now). It’s not even his wishy-washy “sure, I’ll stand with the twoofers…oops, shouldn’t have done that!” two-step. It’s not even his belief that we shouldn’t have gone to war with either Iraq or Afghanistan, or his outrageous claim that 70% of the troops support him. All of those things get under my skin in a hurry, but the worst is unbelievable to me.

Ron Paul believes that we should never enact sanctions or refuse to trade with any nation. He believes we should open up all trade with all nations, including Iran, the Palestinians, and Cuba.

Think about that for just a moment. There are a number of things he has said in the past that I can agree with. I have no use for the UN. NAFTA was a spectacularly poor idea from the outset – I don’t think that even looked good on paper. We have far too many government programs and organizations that run afoul of the Constitution in every sense. I believe that abortion is wrong and the federal government needs to get its grubby fingers out of education. But when he starts talking about doing business with nations whose human rights records are unspeakably horrific, I can’t listen.

His reason – and that of his followers – is that people should be free to choose their own path. People should be allowed to make their own choices, and it’s not up to us to decide who is right and who is wrong. Okay…if that is your stance, then why do we have prisons? Why do we send people to jail for things like robbery, rape and murder? Why put them away and strip them of their civil liberties? Who are we to decide who is right and who is wrong?

Paul would openly do business with countries headed by despots who will blow nearly a cool million just on cognac while their people starve and go blind with diseases that are easily and inexpensively avoided in civilized nations. He would open up trade routes with dictators who order torture and imprisonment for political dissidents – including 8-year-old boys, as Saddam did when a young boy playing in his classroom accidentally knocked a picture of Saddam off of a wall. He would restart trade with depraved “leaders” who run their nations under Sharia and allow the beating, starvation, stoning, hanging and/or beheading of any person accused of engaging in homosexual relationships.

Paul and his believers seem to think that if we back off and play nice, the rest of the world will leave us alone. Not true. And if we actually believe that negotiating trade with countries that commit unbelievable crimes is going to persuade them to clean up their act, we are deluded at best. I don’t think we should be doing business with China, but we’re doing a hell of a lot of it and they even own billions of dollars in US debt (that’s a whole blog post in and of itself). That, to me, ranks right up there with giving the entire world a peek at our nuclear arsenal.

During the 1930’s, the Japanese attacked China during the second Sino-Japanese war. The Japanese had already forced China to give up Korea and Taiwan; how they wanted the mainland. During the second war, the Japanese committed atrocities that could not be ignored. While the Japanese bombed Chongqing and raped Nanking, other nations refused to give aid to China because they felt the Chinese were going to lose and they didn’t want to piss off the Japanese. America, however, did give aid to China, and we refused to trade with Japan – parituclarly for oil, which Japan started to run out of quite rapidly. That was why Japan bombed us at Pearl Harbor. It was a classic, “I’m going to assault you until you give me what I want” sort of action.

If a mugger hits you and pulls a knife or a gun, most people today would simply give him what he wants to make him go away and tell the police later. What they don’t know is that when you do that, it’s unlikely that the mugger will be caught. It’s almost guaranteed that they will keep doing it until someone finally does fight back and they go to jail. In the same way, if we hadn’t fought back against Japan, they would have kept killing us until we did give them what they were after. Also during WWII, Hitler signed a treaty with the Soviet Union – but years later, once Hitler had taken over nearly the whole of mainland Europe and he had enough power to do it, he turned on his ally and tried to take over Russia.

You cannot try to appease a monster and hope that he won’t come after you when he gets hungry again. It always backfires. THAT is what I believe is the most frightening aspect of Paul’s political beliefs. If we ignore the evil acts of others, we might as well be complicit in them.