While Ron Paul has virtually zero chance of winning either the Republican nomination or a general election in this country, there is something about him which makes following his campaign interesting. Part of it is having a candidate who does not fit well into the normal left/right divide of today’s politics. It is also fascinating to watch who does and does not support his campaign. Paul is essentially a candidate of the old, isolationist right. His opposition to the war resulted in many supporting him without giving adequate consideration to his full philosophy. His support for states’ rights and opposition to most actions by the federal government gives the illusion that he is libertarian. I’ve found that some libertarians do support him, while others do see through him, especially since his connection to other common viewpoints of the old right, racism and antisemitism, were exposed during his last presidential run. The latest embarrassment for those who mistakenly see Paul as being pro-freedom is the endorsement by of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska. Talking Points Memo discussed Kayser’s views and how they tie into Paul’s version of federalism:
Paul’s Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska who also draws members from Iowa, putting out a press release praising “the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.” But Kayser’s views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law.
“Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.”
Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating Biblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it happening anytime soon. While he said he and Paul disagree on gay rights, noting that Paul recently voted for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he supported the campaign because he believed Paul’s federalist take on the Constitution would allow states more latitude to implement fundamentalist law. Especially since under Kayser’s own interpretation of the Constitution there is no separation of Church and State.
“Under a Ron Paul presidency, states would be freed up to not have political correctness imposed on them, but obviously some state would follow what’s politically correct,” he said. “What he’s trying to do, whether he agrees with the Constitution’s position or not, is restrict himself to the Constitution. That is something I very much appreciate.”
There is a history of homophobia being expressed in Paul’s newsletters, and we recently learned of his fear of using the bathroom of a gay supporter. While Paul may not advocate the death penalty for homosexuals, he does have a strong history of accepting infringements upon individual liberty by the states (as opposed to the federal government) as part of his fanatical states’ rights viewpoint. The neo-Nazis and white supremacists who have backed Paul understand the consequences of his views far better than the remaining libertarians who support Paul. They understanding how Paul’s views would destroy civil liberties at the state level and make it far easier to impose fascism. Fortunately some libertarians do seem to understand, such as Doug Mataconis who writes:
So basically this guy supports Ron Paul because he thinks a President Paul would make it easier for him and people like him to enact state laws that mirror the Book of Leviticus, and the Paul campaign welcomes his support. This is not libertarianism.
The first commenter to the post cited above also makes it clear: “Paul’s Federalist Libertarianism (hat tip: Popehat) is nothing new. He’s fine with authoritarianism as long as it’s at the state level.”