And I’ll probably need a new web address, since his marauding goons of mayhem have claimed the internets as their home turf. Let’s elaborate on my Paul-itics with a few bullet points:
- Ron Paul is an astute politician. In a Texas congressional district he has made several solid moves, like never once voting for a tax increase no matter what else is on the bill. This gives him a level of street cred with absolutists and idealogues that no one else in congress has, except maybe his son Rand. Having a couple of key issues of non-compromise is a standard in successful congressional politics, but with Paul, he has extrapolated his beliefs to a nation-wide following.
- Ron Paul has a couple of good ideas. I will list them: Austrian economics (with caveats), and a regular audit of the Fed. (Paul advocates abolishing the Fed, but an audit is believed to throw the light on how bad and slimy it is. I say, well, sure, let’s see.)
Let me quickly say that, by “good idea,” I mean that they should be part of the conversation. Other examples from across the political spectrum include Credit Default Swap oversight, tougher penalties for parole violators, and a militia that is truly independent of the military, but ALL of these issues have one thing in common: NOBODY CARES.
IF these guys elected Dr. Paul to the Presidency, he could spend his political capital and abolish the Fed. Because the average American is going to go with the majority on that one, they have bills to pay and lives to live. So when a Paul-lock is in political conversation and eyes glaze over or a weak opposition is offered to be polite, an appropriate response would be to agree to disagree and move on to another topic. If this happens about 20k times across the nation, Paul-istinians will be a viable political force. This isn’t likely though, because:
- Paul’s followers are nuts. I have several friends in this category, and I keep laughing so I don’t cry over their lost souls. The trouble is they have a majority of Americans who hold their beliefs (libertarianism), if they just pulled their heads out of their backsides and learned to work within the system. But nothing doing, they have become so disgruntled with the system that radical action is the only option. And that scares people. And the Paul-istinians don’t even know why. Or if they they do, they don’t care, preferring to sit smug and rant.
I like Austrian economic theory, in spite of, not because of, the Ron Paul crowd. The Austrian School of Economics, for those who need the high points, says that 1) Economic theory should be taken from basic principles of human behavior, not piles of data, and 2) That quality, or efficient, allocations of resources will produce additional wealth while inefficient uses of capital will diminish real wealth. That makes a lot of sense. Classical economics adds up all our purchases and says that money cycles through the economy multiple times (a little less each time due to saving/not spending/loss) to cause a final impact much greater than investment. Keynesian economics basically takes classical (or neo-classical) Econ, and adds government spending to it. (edit: here’s a great link that explains it 🙂
This line of reasoning causes a lot of “stimulation” to the markets, and “Stimulating” jokes abound. But the economy still sucks, in part because Monetary policy typically sucks (think about this, although you can’t draw causation from correlation: the economy does best typically during times that the Fed does nothing.) I think including the Praexologies (if you don’t know, ask a Paulite) in assessments of a proper course of action is logical behavior. Note, I didn’t say they should run the table, only be given a seat at it.
This is how a typical argument goes (I use quotes here, but they are actually paraphrases):
RonPaulStiltskin: “The Federal Reserve is responsible for untold mayhem.”
Me: “Well sure, they keep trying for soft landings with the clumsy tools of monetary policy and produce externalities that they didn’t adequately account for; I think they are using an antiquated economic model.”*
RonPaulStiltskin: [five-paragraph dissertation on why The Fed should be abolished, with a reference to another Paul-istinian’s article. The post either begins or ends with a dare to disprove the impeccible logic.]
RonPaulStiltskin: “Ron Paul gives you wiiiiiiings”
Me: “Paul isn’t that awesome; I like his libertarian leanings but there’s too much tinfoil in that hat.”
RonPaulStiltskin: [Apoplectic denunciation of heresy]**
I am a libertarian, at least loosely, but libertarianism seems synonymous with Paul these days. So taking a stand seems reasonable, to try to take back my political label. I have libertarian leanings, but I don’t like Ron Paul: Give me my label back.
*author’s note: This is WAY smarter than I actually sound (or look) in debates with Vinny or Ryan or Lucas, but hey, I’m author here. 🙂 I do, however, speak with semi-colons. All the time.
**author’s second note: If I could draw this out as an artist or cartoonist, it would funnier. But I can’t.