Rand Paul: Liar or Fool?

by Benjamin Studebaker

Today I am accusing Kentucky congressman Rand Paul of being either a liar and a manipulator of public ignorance or a tremendously ignorant fool. In either case, he is unworthy of political office.  I base these accusations on an e-mail discovered by Ezra Klein circulating on behalf of the National Association on Gun Rights to which Paul has lent his name, image, and reputation. The e-mail lies about the Arms Trade Treaty  (ATT) which was approved by the UN General Assembly in April by a vote of 154 to 3, with 23 abstentions. You can read the entire text of the ATT here. The ATT’s purpose is to prevent the sale of arms that would contribute to the violation of international humanitarian law. However, Rand Paul falsely claims that the real goal of the treaty is to take all the guns.

Here’s what Rand Paul says:

You can bet the UN is working to FORCE the U.S. to implement every single one of these anti-gun policies:***  Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding Americans cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;

***  CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);

***  BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;

***  Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION.

The language in the ATT directly and explicitly refutes these claims. The treaty recognises these relevant principles:

The inherent right of all States to individual or collective self-defence as
recognized in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations;

Non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic
jurisdiction of any State in accordance with Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the
United Nations;

As for article 51 and Article 2(7)?  Article 51 includes this line:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence…

Article 2(7) includes this:

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state

The treaty only prohibits weapon sales in cases in which the weapons would be used to violate international law. It requires record-keeping, reporting, and information sharing among importers and exporters for this purpose. It contains absolutely no language that would require the United States to regulate the sale of arms within its domestic territory. The treaty only applies to international trade.

So why is Rand Paul telling Americans that the UN is coming for their guns? Because the global arms industry wants to sell weapons to places in which those weapons will be used to violate international law, and Rand Paul is a willing tool of these interest groups. PolitiFact agrees with me, calling all formulations of the claim that the UN is trying to take your guns a “pants on fire” lie. Ron Paul’s e-mail even includes a link to this page, in which the ATT is explicitly referred to as “the UN Gun Ban”.

But not only does Rand Paul lie and mislead about the ATT, he says lots of other preposterous things in this e-mail. He says this about the UN:

Ever since its founding 65 years ago, the United Nations has been hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees.

To the petty dictators and one-world socialists who control the UN, the United States of America isn’t a “shining city on a hill” — it’s an affront to their grand designs for the globe.

The consensus view in political science is that the United Nations is an extensions of US hegemony. It more often legitimises and extends American power; it does not limit it, and it certainly does not challenge it. The United States led the effort to create the United Nations. It was one of its founding members. It holds a permanent veto on the UN Security Council. Its power, in proportion to other members of the United Nations within that institution, is immense. It is the largest funder of the United Nations. It has used the United Nations many times in the past to rally support for its causes, ranging from the Korean War to the Gulf War to Afghanistan. The United Nations is head-quartered in New York City. If the United States deemed the United Nations a threat to its hegemony, no nation or group of nations on earth could compel it to stay in the UN or keep the UN around. It betrays either a stunning lack of comprehension or a stunning willingness to lie on the part of Rand Paul that he would lend his name to UN scaremongering on behalf of an interest group the goal of which is the expansion of arms sales to conflict zones.

But that’s not all–Paul also accuses Barack Obama of treason:

But after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut — and anti-gun hysteria in the national media reaching a fever pitch — there’s no doubt President Obama and his anti-gun pals believe the timing has never been better to ram through the U.N.’s global gun control crown jewel.

I don’t know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick.

That’s right, by supporting the ATT, Barack Obama is aiding “anti-American globalists” who have a “plot against our Constitution”.

Maybe Rand Paul doesn’t know better. Maybe he’s a foolish guy. Or maybe he knows what he’s doing and he’s a lying scumbag. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t make a big difference. American politics is full of fools and lairs. But this is not just any politician, this is a politician who has been praised as a “rising star” in the Republican Party by the following reputable news organisations:

And on and on…

This is unacceptable. It is not okay for a person who is this foolish or this willing to deceive on behalf of vested interests to be billed as a capable politician for whom a reasonable person could vote. No informed, reasonable individual could vote for Rand Paul, and anyone who does vote for Rand Paul barring extraordinary circumstances (like a gun to your head, or his opponent’s name being Adolf) is by definition either not informed or not reasonable. For news organisations to propagate the myth that Rand Paul has anything worthwhile to say about statecraft is a betrayal of their readership and of the country. The centrist fallacy that mandates that we pretend that unreasonable people are reasonable for the sake of balance is destroying the epistemic capacity of the voting public. It is dumbing down our politics and making ignorance an acceptable, nay, in some quarters, a desirable or even required trait for statesmen to possess. If this behaviour persists, we will get more bad leaders and more bad policies, fostering a gradual decline and eventual collapse in societal progress of all kinds. The media in the United States has moral responsibility to condemn and rebuke this fool or this liar, whichever he is.

Otherwise, we will continue to live in a world in which our politicians say things like this:

This Spring, the United Nations went back into session to finalize their radical so-called “Small Arms Treaty.”

When a treaty to reduce the sale of weapons to conflict zones is “radical” and the man sending you the e-mail is not, something is very, very wrong.