The World According to Ron Paul: Repeal the 20th Century

by on January 3, 2012 · 15 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Election, Popular, War and Peace, Women's Rights

The libertarian fealty to Adam Smith and the “invisible hand,” states’ rights over Civil Rights, and the abolition of the Jewish State.

Ron Paul would have us believe that he’s a staunch libertarian, and that his professed policies are based on pure a libertarian ideology.  But he’s not purely libertarian because he’s not for an individual’s freedom of choice.  He wants the STATE to make that choice for you instead of the federal government, which is decidedly un-libertarian.  Ron Paul is simply using his libertarian bent as a cover for his more bigoted and unusual views.

Libertarianism itself is founded in a religiously zealous fealty to the “free market” principles espoused by 18th Century philosopher Adam Smith.  What it boils down to is the irrational belief that government is not necessary because the “free market forces” will make all of our decisions for us in a rational and fair manner.  Of course, that’s not what Adam Smith actually wrote, but that’s often how his theories are interpreted.  The theory of the “free market” for libertarians like Paul extends beyond the economic sphere, though:  It holds that not only will the “free market” determine what businesses and business practices will be successful, but it also holds that “free market” principles will ferret out what social policies are acceptable and fair and will adequately guide how we function as a society with little or no rule of law.

Following this train of thought, if people are bigots, and bigotry is not socially acceptable, then those bigots will be effectively neutralized by the “free market,” since the majority will most certainly disagree with the bigots and will by nature marginalize them.  The principles of the “free market” hold that in the marketplace of ideas, the influence of the minority will be muted out.

In theory it makes sense.  But what Dr. Paul and those like him don’t tell us and certainly don’t want us to figure out (or haven’t figured out themselves) is that there is no such thing as the “free market.”  The problem with Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is that it assumes perfect competition; that no one in the marketplace has an inherent advantage over another, and that success or failure in the marketplace will be determined strictly by the value others place on the goods and services each individual has to offer.  And if the real world actually worked that way, then perhaps Adam Smith’s theories would hold perfectly true.

But here in the real world, perfect competition does not exist.  Not in economics, not in society.  There are always actors who have derived undue influence in some manner or another; who have a decided advantage and ability to manipulate the market to their own benefit.    Large corporations are motivated strictly by profit, and seek to use their huge advantage in money and the political influence that money buys to manipulate the markets in their favor.  It’s something that Adam Smith didn’t account for, and it leads to monopolies and oligopolies with very little competition, which is in direct conflict with Smith’s theories, as the barriers to entry created by monopolies and oligopolies prevent other players or ideas from entering the marketplace.  In other words, it stifles competition.

When translated into context of our current political environment,  the “free market” arguments being put forth by Ron Paul and his followers—indeed, by most of the Republicans running for president, although certainly most fervently by Paul—essentially amount to a push to repeal the 20th Century, as if it never existed at all.  It’s a pursuit of the eradication entire Progressive Era, with no mind to the social and economic advances it has brought us.

This zeal to repeal extends far beyond the obvious efforts to do away with The New Deal (Social Security) and The Great Society (Medicare), all deemed unconstitutional by Ron Paul.

In Ron Paul’s world there would be no child labor laws.  There would be no minimum wage.  Unions would not have given rise to the middle class which in turn allowed America’s economy to become the envy of the entire world.  There would be no food or drug safety standards, allowing companies to poison consumers and deal with the repercussions—limited as they would be—later.  He openly calls for the elimination of the Department of Education, leaving it for the states to decide whether or not to provide a public education for their residents.

The Paul anti-government screed asserts that government contributes little of value to the national economy; that it requires government inaction in order to grow the economy, ignoring the reality of how government action in 1956, led by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, created the Federal Highway Act, the legislation that built the interstate highway system.  The interstate highway system is a vital element in our nation’s ability to move goods from one part of the country to another, and thus is a crucial part of our economy.  Without it people would be very limited in their ability to move from city to city, state to state.  And it ignores how in the 18th Century, the government played a vital role in the expansion of the railroad system.  Railroads, like the highway system of today, were the circulatory system of our economy; in many ways they still are.  Without the government’s backing, no railroads.

Ron Paul would favor the privatization of our roads and bridges, which would have catastrophic effects on our economy.  Imagine if every time you pulled onto a freeway—any freeway—or crossed a bridge, you would have to pay a toll.  Even if in the process the federal gas tax was eliminated, since private enterprises are always out to make a profit the tolls would heavily outweigh the tax, if only through sheer volume.  The cost of moving goods would skyrocket, meaning the cost of goods in general would skyrocket, damaging the economy and putting goods and services out of reach to the average consumer.  Not to mention the gridlock it would cause as drivers lined up at toll booths since not everyone has a credit card that would allow them to create a FasTrak or EZ Pass account.

In Ron Paul’s world, since it’s not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, the right to vote for women and African Americans—among other minorities—would be revoked.  While the 15th Amendment appeared to guarantee the right to vote for all citizens, it took the 19th Amendment to guarantee that right to women, and it took the 24th Amendment plus the Civil Rights Act to enforce that right for minorities.

Although his newsletters of the 80’s and 90’s suggest otherwise, Paul insists he’s not a racist, and does not support racist policies.  But he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he does not support it now.  At issue, according to Paul, are property rights and the government’s ability to tell you that in your place of business you cannot discriminate.  But if Ron Paul had his way, states could tacitly condone racism and segregation.  In Ron Paul’s world, slavery would still exist since he considers any federal law prohibiting it a violation of states’ rights.

One would also have to wonder what a President Paul would do about the 3/5 Compromise?

In Ron Paul’s world, Israel would not exist.  According to a former Paul aide, the candidate thinks that “Israel is more trouble than it’s worth,” and he supports the “calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.”

If Ron Paul had his way, America never would have gotten involved in World War II in Europe.  Eric Dondero, the former aide, insists that Paul is not anti-Semitic, but he hates Israel, and the Holocaust doesn’t bother him, allegedly telling Dondero that “saving the Jews was absolutely none of our business.”

In Ron Paul’s world, there would be no 16th Amendment giving Congress the authority to collect taxes, because taxes and the government’s ability to collect them are inherently evil.  But even Adam Smith wrote paying taxes was a “badge not of slavery, but of liberty,” and argued that “taxpayers should pay in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.”  Even Adam Smith supported a progressive income tax.

The world according to Ron Paul is a pretty scary place, and not the kind of country that most U.S. citizens would be very comfortable living in.  It’s very easy to admire Paul’s stance against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his condemnation of the federal government’s war on drugs.  But it’s important to look at the entirety of his positions to get a clear idea of who he really is.  It’s important to understand that he doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose what happens with her body or your right to risk putting whatever substance into your own body that you choose.  Rather, he wants the states to be free to deny those rights.  He wants the states to be free to mandate religious instruction in public schools.  And he wants the states to be free to deny the right to vote for reasons of sex, race, religion, or economic circumstance.

The world according to Ron Paul would be more reminiscent of 1912 than it would 2012.

 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar andy January 3, 2012 at 5:39 am

Austrian Economics is championed by Murry Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises. Jewish men. Ron Paul is devoted to Austrian Economics. It would be very strange for a person to be an ardent supporter of a theory advocated by people he did not like.

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avatar Mike Parent January 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Who says he doesn’t like them?
Propaganda, plain and simple.

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avatar C January 3, 2012 at 5:55 am

as someone who thinks Paul is insanely naive (and just plain insane sometimes), and that many of his policies would absolutely disastrous, I have to say this is a pretty amazing troll article. Pictures 3 and 4 are particularly hilarious. At least you’re pretty much accurate about the disgusting details, if fear-mongering over the ominous implications.

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avatar aegrisomnia January 3, 2012 at 6:14 am

Although this article was somewhat informative and definitely an interesting read, you might pay a bit more attention to the details. For instance, a quick proofreading would probably have caught “It’s a pursuit of the eradication entire Progressive Era”. Moreover, I don’t recall anybody building railroads in the 18th century (1700s). Etc.

Also, while “perfect” competition doesn’t exist (what’s perfect?), there are markets which are such good approximations to perfect competition that it’s fine to consider them as such. Other kinds of markets – monopolistic competition, monopoly, oligopoly, etc. – are not really counter to the notions of a free market economy, but in many cases play integral roles (for instance, the existence of monopolistic competition is due to consumers’ willingness to pay for more for more variety in goods, natural monopolies such as utilities are government sponsored, etc.). What I’m trying to say is that recent economic history hasn’t really done anything to disprove or discredit the theories of Adam Smith; if anything, The Wealth of Nations remains an incredibly useful (if incomplete) tool for understanding the science of economics.

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avatar AS January 3, 2012 at 6:48 am

Don’t really care to agree or disagree, but article is very misleading. Adam Smith’s theory of value is a far cry from the Austrian school Ron Paul endorses. It makes a big difference in analyzing his principles, and I don’t think you can write a fair article or analysis on economics while making this mistake.

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avatar Jack January 3, 2012 at 7:54 am

Great thought piece Andy.

While I do not necessarily agree with all your conclusions, I will say they clearly are not out of the realm of possibilities. I think of the anecdotal information to date which supports some of your views; the radical application of the death penalty from state to state, the disparate treatment of migrant workers, legal and illegal, in different states, the roll back of environmental laws by state governments which would benefit economically by a loosening of restraints to mine, drill and frack to the detriment of their people.

Regardless of my personal view of Ron Paul, I believe anyone who thinks “simplifying” government and reducing it to its least common denominator (whatever that is) is terribly naive and has no place in running even the smallest of soveriegnties.

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avatar Sandyc954 January 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Thanks for sharing this and to the person that led me to this article. I think this is necessary to show those that support “magical theories” the rest of the story besides anti war and small government.

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avatar AS January 4, 2012 at 12:42 am

Apparently when I posted something moderately neutral about Israel, it was moderated. Seriously??

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avatar editordude January 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

Huge thanks to Andy and Doug for putting this 4-part series on Ron Paul together, and we appreciate that they had to take the flack from Paulists. There’s a lot of young people turned off to President Obama searching for somebody, and Paul’s anti-war and pro-drug legalization stances are very enticing. His strident anti-abortion stance doesn’t seem to deter them, nor does his racist past.

Their series had to be published, and we owe them a huge platter of gratitude.

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avatar andy January 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

Paul thinks its up to the States to decide whether abortion is legal or not. Technically, only the States have this power to begin with. He is essentially saying the federal government should have no business saying abortion is legal or illegal, how is that anti-abortion?

Moreover, Paul is not racist. He is the only congressmen that is truly pro-minorities.

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avatar Andy Cohen January 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Or look at it another way: He and other Conservatives don’t like the fact that the federal government prohibits institutionalized discrimination, involving religion in government, has a national set of environmental protections……..so really what they’re arguing in favor of is for the states to say that discrimination in the workplace, segregation, denial of rights, voting rights, remove environmental restrictions, etc., is OK; removing federal restrictions on theocracy in order to be able to institutionalize religion at the local or state levels.

Take an issue like abortion: Republicans/social conservatives HATE the fact that the federal government has codified it as an individual liberty; that a woman’s right to choose an abortion, while gut-wrenching, is still a personal choice that the government cannot deny. What people like Paul want to do is to pull an end run around the Constitution and remove the federal obstacles so that they can deny that right at the state and local level. It’s a way to be able to push their theocratic views on society at large that may not hold the same religious beliefs they do. It’s a way for them to be able to proselytize by law.

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avatar andy January 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I like this end run around the Constitution argument. It is basically saying that because you think the government shouldn’t prohibit it you are necessarily against it. Its a dishonest argument. Look, I disagree with Ron Paul on abortion, I think we have the right to abort a baby at ANY time, not just first trimester. But his views are not inherently anti abortion or racist just because he doesn’t want the government to prohibit or protect it. That is called freedom.

Your argument about discrimination is also without merit. Discrimination against someone because of race, religion, or national origin is disgusting. But people inherently have the right to do it. The first amendment protects against prohibitions on the freedom of speech. The first amendment isn’t contemplating non offensive speech. It’s contemplating hateful, disgusting, terrible speech. I’m Jewish myself, and I’d probably be hurt to some extent if discrimination was not outlawed. However, I’d rather know who’s anti-semitic so I can avoid giving them my money.

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avatar andy January 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Additionally, Ron Paul’s economic adviser in his 2008 Presidential campaign was Peter Schiff, another Jewish man.

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avatar libconlib January 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

>There’s a lot of young people turned off to President Obama

I wonder why!

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avatar Phillip Marler July 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

The author and the editors are clearly unlearned and complete embarrassment to journalism. The simple fact that you called him racist, and the editors, you have lost all credibility. IF you even spent five minutes learning about his pro individual liberty views, you would realize that racism is incompatible with Dr Pauls views. You would smear a good man, the ONLY good man in congress, just to be part of the hater crowd. Feel good? Cause it looks pathetic, and it looks like the last few licks you’re gonna get in on liberty and freedom before your whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Have you ever even asked how a foreign bank can print more money (devaluing the money already in circulation), LEND it to the US Government, and charge them interest? On INFLATED MONEY! On money they already charged interest on! It’s double dipping. It’s anti-American, illegal, and anyone who doesn’t see it wasted any money they ever spent on education, because it taught them nothing. It especially didn’t teach you to learn things, with a discerning mind, for yourselves.

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