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Ron Paul's The Revolution And Libertarianism's Fatal Flaw
If America's political elite was immoral, corrupt or just plain wrong on one or two issues, the country might have some hope. But reading Ron Paul's The Revolution however, one gets the idea that we truly are doomed. This is despite the author's optimism, and his assuring us that "the Revolution" is just around the corner.
First of all, there is the "choice" we are offered every few years. A "fiscal conservative" wows audiences with his stand against a "bridge to nowhere". That's all fine and dandy, but how about the other 99.99999% of the federal budget?
An "anti-war" candidate might advocate that we get out of Iraq within a year. But how about the other 129 (not a typo) countries the US has troops in? Paul rightly compares the debate in this country to the political dissent allowed in Pravda.
Never is Ron Paul as right as he is on foreign policy. When Bush administration senior economic advisor Larry Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost between $100 and $200 billion, the White House was embarrassed. Now the estimated cost is around $2 trillion (to put that into perspective 2 trillion/308 million Americans = approx. $6500 per person).
When we are seeing our standard of living drop more than it has at any time since the Great Depression, will anybody ask whether we need 64,000 troops in Germany? How about giving the American people a say in whether it's worth it? (Never mind that there's nothing in the constitution about a worldwide empire.)
The regime in Washington is a rogue entity, a law unto itself. Paul quotes an unnamed columnist:
"...we are borrowing from Europe in order to defend Europe, we are borrowing from Japan in order to keep cheap oil flowing to Japan, and we are borrowing from Arab regimes in order to install democracy in Iraq."
Paul rejects the term "isolationist". He says it is those who want sanctions on countries whose governments have the nerve to disobey Washington, or stop Americans from visiting countries like Cuba, are the ones who deserve the label. Paul favors diplomacy, travel and commerce between countries. He opposed NAFTA, which we are told is a free trade agreement but is really a 20,000 page document that sacrifices American sovereignty and enforces government-backed cartels.
When it comes to economics, non-coercion and freedom are once again the best options. Paul writes "I would choose freedom even if it meant less prosperity, but thankfully we do not face such a choice."
To understand how government can favor certain interest groups over the general population, take a look at the sugar industry. It's worth it for the sugar industry to lobby to encourage limits on imports. In contrast, no individual consumer is hurt enough to put effort into changing the law. Now multiply this effect by a million, and you start to see how special interests get so powerful and rob us of our wealth.
If only we had, say, a founding document that created such a weak central government that large-scale parasitism would be impossible!
There is almost nothing that the government does which private industry couldn't do more morally, cheaper and more efficiently. The Brookings Institute's John Chubb once set out to find out how many bureaucrats work in the central administrative office of the New York City public school system. It took him 12 phone calls to find someone who knew the answer and would tell him: 6,000. Chubb then called the Archdiocese of New York to find out how many bureaucrats it takes to run the city's Catholic schools, which educate one fifth the amount of students the public schools do:
"Chubb's first telephone call was taken by someone who did not know the answer. Here we go again, he thought.
"But after a moment she said, 'Wait a minute; let me count.' Her answer: 26."
What Paul doesn't point out is that, with private competition, schools would be answerable to parents and couldn't carry out multicultural indoctrination at will.
On the National Question, Ron Paul is certainly better than just about anybody in the mainstream. He draws the connection between immigration and the welfare state—you can't have both, as Milton Friedman said. [Forbes Magazine, December 29, 1997]. Paul opposes birthright citizenship and has called for a constitutional amendment to end this demographic takeover via the womb.
Despite all this, I get the impression that the congressman doesn't really understand how things have changed since he began the good fight. Debating economics and government philosophy is a luxury of living in a homogenous country. But if the supporters of an expanded state use race as their justification, then the defenders of smaller government can't ignore the issue, no matter how much they'd like to. Sometimes our battles choose us, not the other way around.
If you're a libertarian, you must deal with the fact that the state sees disparate impact in any area of life as a good reason to seize power. What's Ron Paul's theory as to why these racial differences in outcome exist?
A true libertarian might claim that he doesn't an answer—that freedom is good for its own sake. So he doesn't need to apologize when it doesn't give results ideal for those who fetishize equality.
But unfortunately, egalitarians run our society—and their arguments need to be met.
Paul tells us in The Revolution that it's 2009 and about time we stopped talking about race.
But Paul grew up in 1940s America. It's easy to see how he could've gotten the naïve idea that ethnicity might be made not to matter. If 99% of your town shares your race, language and religion you may end up believing that the biggest difference you could have with a human being is over what the tax rate should be. However, this is not the experience of Americans since the disaster of 1965 Immigration Act.
Unfortunately, The Revolution bends over backwards to be politically correct about race. One way to earn rhetorical points in an American political debate is to link the idea you're fighting against to past bigotry. So Paul argues against the drug war by telling us that banning marijuana was originally motivated by "contempt for Mexicans". Thus the drug war is not only bad because it increases crime and violates civil rights, but because it disproportionately affects minorities. (So if it only hurt white people, would that be an argument for the drug war?).
At one point, Paul even proudly tells us that his 2007 campaign had more African-American support than that of any other Republican. But isn't that sort of like being voted the most popular Jew in Yemen?
Even Paul's support for borders isn't all that it's cracked up to be. He worries that the welfare state is making scapegoating of illegals easier. Government is blamed for handing out welfare, but NAMs are not blamed for voting for it.
Ron Paul's brand of libertarianism is one that avoids tough questions about race and identity. Thus he has no problem pointing out that people who share economic interests might benefit from looting the rest of society. But don't people who share common ethnic interests do the same? There are probably dozens of race wars for every class one.
Murray Rothbard, one of Paul's biggest influences, understood this. In an article written after the release of The Bell Curve he beautifully made the libertarian case for going to the rooftops and spreading the truth about race differences. He wrote that race realism is needed
"…as a powerful defense of the results of the free market. If and when we as populists and libertarians abolish the welfare state in all of its aspects, and property rights and the free market shall be triumphant once more, many individuals and groups will predictably not like the end result. In that case, those ethnic and other groups who might be concentrated in lower-income or less prestigious occupations, guided by their socialistic mentors, will predictably raise the cry that free-market capitalism is evil and 'discriminatory' and that therefore collectivism is needed to redress the balance. In that case, the intelligence argument will become useful to defend the market economy and the free society from ignorant or self-serving attacks. In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors."[Race! That Murray Book, December 1994. Links adds]
Rothbard towards the end of his life strongly supported the presidential campaign of Patrick J. Buchanan, Mr. Identity Politics for White People according to National Review orthodoxy enforcer Ramesh Ponnuru.
About his own movement, Paul writes:
"By the end of 2007, more than twice as many Meetup groups had been formed in support of our campaign than for all the rest of the candidates in both major parties combined. I have never seen such a diverse coalition rallying to a single banner. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, constitutionalists, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, antiwar activists, home schoolers, religious conservatives, freethinkers-all were not only involved, but enthusiastically so."
Really? Here's the first picture I was able to find online of a Ron Paul rally.
OK, it's from Salt Lake City, so perhaps I'm being unfair. I typed "Ron Paul rally New York" into Flickr and found these two.
I think I see the same token Asian Indian in the both pictures.
It's not Ramesh Ponnuru.
A movement based on economics will never inspire the passion or loyalty as one based on blood. It's because the Left has understood this that they've been able to remake America.
Richard Hoste (email him) writes prolifically on race, immigration, political correctness and modern conservatism. In his less-than-six month writing career, his articles have appeared at The Occidental Observer, The Occidental Quarterly and TakiMag among other places. His blog is HBD Books, where he regularly reviews classic and modern works on these topics.