Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)

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Congressman: I’m Just Like Ron Paul (Except on Foreign Policy)

25th February 2013      by: Tom Woods     

Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia: “Truth be told, except for foreign policy, Ron Paul’s voting record and mine are virtually identical.”

“On foreign policy,” says Kennesaw State University professor Kerwin Swint, “Paul is to the left of Obama.” So much for the Old Right! (Is it possible Professor Swint has never heard of the Old Right? A college professor, talking about something he half understands? Never!)

For a more useful look at left, right, and war, skip over the presidential war powers section of this page and look at the rest.

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • Khadija Umayyad

    The ‘Old Right’ were largely progressives (like John T. Flynn) and liberals (like Garet Garrett). They never knew one another. I don’t doubt that he is probably ignorant of the Anti-New Deal/Anti-War coalitions of the 1910s-1930s, but it is just philosophically wrong to call these people ‘right wing’. Nock, the ultimate Quixotic individualist, is the closest thing to a ‘right-winger’ among them.

    As a historian and fan of American history you must be well aware of the localist, decentralist, populist, hard-money, anti-Federal wing of Progressives and Liberals. Anti-Tammanyism was a strong source of inspiration for the Progressive movement. It wasn’t all Roosevelts and warplanes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Raimondo/668500137 Justin Raimondo

    How do you know they never knew one another? No doubt they knew OF one another: Garrett was a nationally-known journalist, editor at the Sat. Evening Post: Flynn was a best-selling author and journalist. Both lived in New York City. And, no, the Old Right wasn’t “mostly progressives,” although some, like Flynn and Burton K. Wheeler, came from that tradition. Most were conservatives — yes, the dreaded “right-wingers.” Frank Chodorov was never a progressive. Neither were the 800,000 members of the America First Committee. What about Robert Taft — a “progressive”? I don’t think so.

  • Mike

    “Truth be told, except for foreign policy, Ron Paul’s voting record and mine are virtually identical.”

    So in other words, you’re a con artist. Got it.

  • Khadija Umayyad

    I never said I ‘dreaded’ right wingers, and yes, Taft was a Progressive. I think ‘right’ and ‘left’ are both broken heuristics or personality tendencies of little value in abstract political thinking; it so happens that the right are a bit more realistic and the left are a bit more individualist but overall they’re overlappingly stupid. For the record I’m a Stirnerite panarchist with AnCap tendencies.

    Richard Hoste wrote the following on the conservative antiwar darling Mr. Republican,

    “Contrary to his pacifist reputation, Taft was arguably more hawkish on the Korean War than the Truman administration and supported General MacArthur. His difference with the establishment wasn’t over whether to oppose armed Communism, but over where much of the battlefield should be. Taft thought it should be in East Asia and chided the Truman government for losing China…The author advocated creating a powerful army and supporting foreign governments that were struggling against the ideological scourge of the day. Although he didn’t live long enough to have an opinion on Vietnam, one could almost imagine Taft having supported it, while perhaps quibbling that the war’s budget was too high.

    …Kirk makes clear that Taft was not consistently opposed to all forms of state coercion. He considered government’s role in banking and finance as settled…Senator Taft was also in favor of government intrusion into education, health care and housing. On the big issues, Taft disagreed with liberals only on the details. He rightly warned that a complete federal takeover of education would lead to indoctrination, but thought that funds should be redistributed from rich states to poor states to bring the latter’s schooling up to par. It’s only a short step from that view to the achievement-gap-closing mania that we see today. Taft was extremely naive to believe that the federal government would only distribute funds for teaching the young, while remaining indifferent to what they were taught.

    Another thing that many conservatives may not know is that the supposed patriarch of the Old Right was an early advocate of affordable government-subsidized housing, the results of which are such American gems as inner city Chicago and Detroit. Taft proposed in his housing bill of 1945 that ten percent of the nation’s construction of housing over the next ten years be subsidized by the federal government, which would also provide more funds for loans to those who had trouble buying their own homes…Taft wasn’t simply a passive supporter of the creation of American ghettos and setting one of the precedents that led to our recent real estate collapse. Like George W. Bush, he was passionately attached to the idea the state should provide homes or at least loans to buy homes for those that can’t afford them. In 1948 his third attempt to get a bill passed on the issue was defeated in Congress. Taft took the issue to the public. In 1949 he gave a speech in New York where he claimed that providing low-income housing wasn’t only desirable from a humanitarian perspective, but would stimulate the economies in nearby areas.”


  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    Ex-Progressives. There is nothing “progressive” about Garrett’s great trilogy. Flynn had definitely shifted from his earlier thought by the late New Deal. Howard Buffett was not a progressive, and neither were the other Old Right congressmen. The point is, there were decidedly non-leftists interventionists.

  • Don

    Paul Broun: “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually. How to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.”

  • Khadija Umayyad

    Tom, I think we are speaking somewhat different languages. I don’t buy the line that everyone who is Pro-market and anti-state is a right winger. That’s a minor historical coincidence because modern states are super-leftist. Guys like Mises and Barry Goldwater were leftist in any conventional outlook *aside* from their specific political programmes.
    Likewise, there are plenty of creepy authoritarian governments of the right. They tend to be less-insane, but no less thuggish.
    As I said above, there were many liberals and progressive who did have decentralist, market-oriented and populist tendencies. Just look at classical liberals.
    I also deny the equation of classical liberals and modern libertarians. There is a lineage, but it is a branching one.
    Modern libertarians and conservatives are, in America, generally leftists in their cultural outlook and liberal in their specific ideological convictions (i.e., the free market allows individuals to most effectively develop their personal life-projects, etc.)

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    This is correct, but in the American context this would force us to call everyone a progressive, and then the term becomes not so illuminating.

  • Anti NDAA

    This is actually not correct. I can go do the research for Tom or anyone who is interested, but just off the top of my head I know for a fact that Broun voted for the NDAA.

  • anti ndaa

    I looked at the article and saw where the AJC counts “defense bills” as foreign policy. I already fired off an email to them saying that citizens being indefinitely detained and assassinated without charge or trial dates back to the Magna Carta and is considered one of the most basic civil liberties and rights that people have – I hardly see how Broun voting for that makes him in any way similar to Ron Paul.

  • anti ndaa

    here is what I just sent the AJC:

    It is completely ridiculous to say
    Broun is just like the man in congress who has defended our civil
    liberties better than anyone else over the last three decades other than on foreign policy. Along
    those lines, some other topics off the top of my head I know where
    fundamental differences are is that Paul wants the federal drug war to
    be over and for it to be up to the states, doesn’t want the
    government involved in marriage at all – but if it has to be, then that
    is also best left to the states, and Paul supports letting the states
    decide abortion as well barring a constitutional amendment. All of those issues are some major fundamental
    differences between the two on the role of government, but still don’t rank as highly as Broun’s
    support for the NDAA that absolutely crushes civil liberties.


    in case you doubt what I am saying about the NDAA not being foreign
    policy, check out the huffington post article covering what Obama’s
    lawyers are saying and how the judge ruled against them on the NDAA.
    This is a clear attack on the First and Fifth Amendments, and as I
    mentioned in the previous email is an assault on a basic right to face
    charge and trial that dates back to the Magna Carta.

    Lawyers for the Obama administration are arguing that the United
    States will be irreparably harmed if it has to abide by a judge’s ruling
    that it can no longer hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without
    trial in military custody.

    The lawyers made the argument on Friday in seeking a stay of the ruling, issued earlier this week by Judge Katherine Forrest in the Southern District of New York.

    Forrest had ruled
    on behalf of a group of journalists and activists who said they feared
    the government could grab them under section 1021 of the National
    Defense Authorization Act of 2012. That section affirms the
    administration’s right to detain any “person who was a part of or
    substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces,”
    including U.S. citizens.

    Forrest found that the definitions of “substantially supported” and
    “associated forces” were so vague that a reporter or activist could not
    be sure they would not be covered under the provision if they worked
    with a group deemed to be associated with terrorists, or perhaps
    circulated the message of an associated individual by printing an

    The judged ruled that such a circumstance violated the First
    Amendment right to free speech, as well as the Fifth Amendment right to
    due process that holds that a person must be able to understand what
    actions would break the law.

  • anti ndaa

    Sorry about the formatting – it looked nothing like this when i posted it. Not sure what happened. Here is the relevant part of the article on what the Judge ruled – I would love to see how this is classified as foreign policy:

    “Forrest found that the definitions of “substantially supported” and
    “associated forces” were so vague that a reporter or activist could not
    be sure they would not be covered under the provision if they worked
    with a group deemed to be associated with terrorists, or perhaps
    circulated the message of an associated individual by printing an

    The judged ruled that such a circumstance violated the First
    Amendment right to free speech, as well as the Fifth Amendment right to
    due process that holds that a person must be able to understand what
    actions would break the law.”

  • CheckMark

    Broun is excellent.


    Paul Broun reintroduces Ron Paul’s bills:

    H.R. 24: To require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States, and for other purposes.

    H.R. 73: To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.

    H.R. 75: To end membership of the United States in the United Nations.

    H.R. 77: To repeal the legal tender laws, to prohibit taxation on certain coins and bullion, and to repeal superfluous sections related to coinage.

    H.R. 23: To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.

    On civil liberties, Broun did vote for the NDAA because it has to do with military, but wanted to prevent indefinite detention and therefore voted for the Smith-Amash and Gohmert amendments which would have prevented indefinite detention. He was also one of about 20 Republicans to vote against the Patriot Act.

    Broun is a John Birch Society member and scored among the highest on their constitutional scorecard, close to Paul and Amash.

  • J Fournier

    Anyone else have trouble sending Broun an email? I had to look up a zip code in his district and then I still don’t think my email went through.

  • anti ndaa

    Yet he voted for the NDAA bill and helped it become law. He fell for the typical GOP trap – and it is why the indefinite detention and assassination provisions are in a military spending bill in the first place – of putting something with “defense” in the title and knowing that very few GOPers can vote against it.

    To me that is not something that can just be glossed over and is even worse than Amash saying tax raising should be on the table. What does Broun think about the War on Drugs? Does he agree with Paul that the feds have no authority to ban a product like alcohol or “drugs” without a constitutional amendment? I haven’t looked yet, but does he consistently vote no on new spending bills like Paul always did?

    The John Birch Society is not exactly who I would trust when it comes to evaluating civil liberty types – they fired Will Grigg for exposing the police state back when even a lot of libertarians were ignorant about exactly how bad it was, for instance.

    Anyone who supports the NDAA should automatically lose their “excellent” status from the type of people who agree with and follow Tom Woods, and definitely lose the “Ron Paul except on foreign policy” status.

  • anti ndaa

    And as far as the bills Broun introduced – I think they are good and all, but hardly controversial among the GOP base. Thanks to the last three decades of Ron Paul’s eforts, he has made things like pulling out of the UN and the Federal Reserve audit fairly non controversial, so it isn’t exactly going out on a limb to support those. I do give bround credit for not voting for the Patriot Act, but the NDAA vote really removes any comparison whatsoever to a Ron Paul minus the foreign policy description.

    In a way, how the vote was buried in a military spending bill actually helps prove the point that foreign policy is what makes Ron Paul….well, Ron Paul. He wasn’t trapped into this mindset of equating spending new money on the military industrial complex with “supporting the troops” and then forced to vote for something he claims to be against.

    Would Broun, who has always been a strong supporter of the second amendment, have voted for the military spending bill if it had contained the Feinstein Assault Weapons bill attached to it?

  • Khadija Umayyad

    Well, I think it is illuminating. Almost all Americans are liberals are progressives, and a solid majority are leftists. I think the mistake is treating these as core deciders. Peoples’ political views are rarely rational, so treating them as an actual ideology is wrong. Liberalism is a religious tendency, more than anything, and just as there are Catholic anarchists and Catholic fascists so there are liberal anarchists and liberal totalitarians.
    There is some tension between liberal ideology and libertarianism-as-programme, and this is one reason why it is important to separate political programmes from the mystical rationalizations people make for them. I am personally no more convinced by the NAP than I am by the Federal Register, I just have a sort of preference amongst the two.

  • http://redneckdemocrat.com/ Redneck Democrat

    Paul Broun has introduced those pandering FED audit bills, but of the more than 78 bills Dr Broun has submitted, only 1 made it out of Committee. That bill was congratulating someone for winning the masters. Neither the golfer, or the Masters is in his district. I am, and he has never responded to any of my requests for information. He said he served in the pre-vietnam era (Marine Reserves, his dad was a State Senator), from 1965, to 1967, which confused my dad, who got a purple heart serving there then.

    Even though I left the Libertarian Party, I still support the Liberty movement. This guy will say whatever it takes to get elected. He is not your friend.

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