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04/24/2003 Archived Entry: "Ron Paul: How difficult to be a man of principle"

HOW DIFFICULT TO BE A MAN OF PRINCIPLE IN A PRAGMATIC POSITION. A small item in the Chicago Sun-Times says that the NRA is considering opposing Ron Paul in the next congressional election. The reason? Because Paul -- known as "Dr. No" -- voted against protecting the firearms industry against lawsuits.

Paul is the only man in Congress who always votes according to what he believes the Constitution requires. He opposed the lawsuit-protection bill because the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to tell the states what they can do about lawsuits. The NRA and everybody else knows Paul is a hero for gun-rights; he just won't toe anybody's party line for the sake of pragmatism.

I'm glad I'm not in Ron Paul's position. I'm glad Ron Paul is. He may not be able to advance liberty through legislation, but he's a gutsy reminder that principle matters. Lawsuits that try to destroy the firearms industry by holding manufacturers responsible for the criminal misuse of their product are as outrageous (and scary) as lawsuits that blame GM and Toyota for carjackings. But "good" legislation based on unlawful big-government premises won't serve us in the long run, even when it brings a sigh of temporary relief.

(NOTE: A correspondent forwarded an exchange he had with the NRA. He said that ONE MINUTE after he hit the send button on his defense of Paul, he got a response saying it was "too early" and "premature" to speculate about what the NRA would do in the next elections. Faithful Correspondent sagely noted that the quick, canned response shows the NRA is already taking a lot of heat from its members over its anti-Paul grumbles. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at NRA headquarters this morning.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:33 AM CST

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