Letters to a Ron Paul fan

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What do you do when you find out that one of your friends is a Ron Paul fan? I just feel that there are a lot of folks who get counted in the Republican base even though they couldn't be much further from Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell if they tried. The events of this past week (mainly the killing of the Obama Jobs bill in the Senate, which was refused debate despite having a majority in favor) remind me of watching Gingrich tout HIS mandate from the people and the resulting Contract With America during years when Perot was having his moment in the national spotlight. How many Perot-bots had the unintended effect of adding to >his< power base?

And, moreover, what can we do locally, in small ways? I am in the middle of having a series of email messages with a friend who is a Ron Paul-ite. I could cut and paste some responses here (mine -- won't paste his here), but it's straight out of the Hartmann/Sanders/Kucinich/Michael Moore/Elizabeth Warren/Krugman/Stiglitz/Naomi Klein school. Also, I started out by making very clear that Progressives and Ron Paul-ites share a lot of significant common ground.

What I run into is a mixture of the following:

* Decentralization as a mantra

* (Opinion) Fed/central banking created housing bubble and also couldn't prevent crash. Obviously (point-of-view in response), the system is flawed.

* Ideological support for Austrian economics

* Respect for the Occupy movement and need for change on topics like money in politics/campaign contributions

I hate to see potential allies actually unknowingly being enlisted in the cause of the Republican establishment. And it is frustrating to put forward arguments like the fact that we GREW out of the postwar debt (120% of GDP -- proportionally 30-40% higher than current) and be met with the same "end the Fed" response and not feel like I am gaining traction. And yet, I could have a two-hour conversation with a Chicago School economics type or an Austrian economics Ron Paul-ite with very little cognitive dissonance or contradictory information or philosophies -- and I am just a layman!

Is it up to us to have to respond to EVERY soundbite and talking point, while they take pot-shots at anything and everything, pinning blame where they like? They won't put me on the defensive, but if we can't even agree on certain premises, we end up agreeing to disagree just to be civil, and McConnell and the righties will keep voting down Jobs bills, with these folks in their pocket. And Ron Paul backers won't have a moment of reckoning -- they will just keep saying "the system is flawed."

If Progressives took a big slice of the Ron Paul right (many of whom are really independent moderates who are more attracted to his image of honesty and transparency than his fringe ideals), we could consolidate a dominant power base, especially in middle America where the Senate seats are (15% or so of the population is represented by 40 Senators). How do we talk to them?

think_r
Joined:
Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

Comments

Send them here

http://www.obamaftw.com/blog/ron-paul/ron-paul-2012-ron-paul-economy

http://www.obamaftw.com/blog/the-federal-reserve/blame-game-end-the-fed-gold-standard

HuxleyFan
Joined:
Sep. 18, 2011 3:44 pm
Quote think_r:

What do you do when you find out that one of your friends is a Ron Paul fan? I just feel that there are a lot of folks who get counted in the Republican base even though they couldn't be much further from Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell if they tried. The events of this past week (mainly the killing of the Obama Jobs bill in the Senate, which was refused debate despite having a majority in favor) remind me of watching Gingrich tout HIS mandate from the people and the resulting Contract With America during years when Perot was having his moment in the national spotlight. How many Perot-bots had the unintended effect of adding to >his< power base?

And, moreover, what can we do locally, in small ways? I am in the middle of having a series of email messages with a friend who is a Ron Paul-ite. I could cut and paste some responses here (mine -- won't paste his here), but it's straight out of the Hartmann/Sanders/Kucinich/Michael Moore/Elizabeth Warren/Krugman/Stiglitz/Naomi Klein school. Also, I started out by making very clear that Progressives and Ron Paul-ites share a lot of significant common ground.

What I run into is a mixture of the following:

* Decentralization as a mantra

* (Opinion) Fed/central banking created housing bubble and also couldn't prevent crash. Obviously (point-of-view in response), the system is flawed.

* Ideological support for Austrian economics

* Respect for the Occupy movement and need for change on topics like money in politics/campaign contributions

I hate to see potential allies actually unknowingly being enlisted in the cause of the Republican establishment. And it is frustrating to put forward arguments like the fact that we GREW out of the postwar debt (120% of GDP -- proportionally 30-40% higher than current) and be met with the same "end the Fed" response and not feel like I am gaining traction. And yet, I could have a two-hour conversation with a Chicago School economics type or an Austrian economics Ron Paul-ite with very little cognitive dissonance or contradictory information or philosophies -- and I am just a layman!

Is it up to us to have to respond to EVERY soundbite and talking point, while they take pot-shots at anything and everything, pinning blame where they like? They won't put me on the defensive, but if we can't even agree on certain premises, we end up agreeing to disagree just to be civil, and McConnell and the righties will keep voting down Jobs bills, with these folks in their pocket. And Ron Paul backers won't have a moment of reckoning -- they will just keep saying "the system is flawed."

If Progressives took a big slice of the Ron Paul right (many of whom are really independent moderates who are more attracted to his image of honesty and transparency than his fringe ideals), we could consolidate a dominant power base, especially in middle America where the Senate seats are (15% or so of the population is represented by 40 Senators). How do we talk to them?

Well, to introduce myself, I am a Ron Paul supporter. And I am a libertarian. I joined this forum because I enjoy talking with intelligent progressives. I am open to forming broad coalitions with people like yourself on many issues that we might have agreement.

I used to be sort of a leftie in persuasion, but I changed based on reading dozens of books on economics and following Ron Paul in the 2008 election cycle. I think those on the left have many good impulses and care about important issues, but their understanding of economics is terribly lacking. For someone to hold up Paul Krugman or anyone of that ilk as someone to look to for economic policy is advocating economic suicide whether they know it or not. And those that advocate more stimulus as the solution to our current woes is rejecting our entire history, which demonstrates the utter failure of that type of Keynesian economics.

To me once a leftie learns economics, they become a libertarian. That is what happened to me. I suggest you read Mises, Hazlitt, Rothbard and others in depth. Look at the accurate predictions that have been made. And, most importantly, understand the effects of central planning by the Fed in creating unsustainable bubbles that have to burst.

Most progressives I talk to will reject outright socialism or communism as known failures and will admit that capitalism is the best, however they say we simply need proper regulations and government oversight to prevent abuse. And this sounds rather logical and sensible. However, the study of the free market and how resources should be properly directed using the pricing mechanism and the importance of market interest rates is far different from the idea progressives have that to believe in a "free market" just means trust corporations. It does NOT mean that. You must understand how the market operates and how wealth is created, even if you want to advise certain government interventions. Then you will know how government interventions lead to certain outcomes. Politicians are quite incompetant and rarely are regulations economically sound. Some cause a great deal of harm, even to the poor and those the left profess to care about.

The housing bubble was a perfect example. The goal, a noble one at that, was to provide houses to everyone. The Fed inflated the housing bubble by keeping interest rates too low for too long which tricked people into over investing in houses and real estate. Then the government forced banks to lend to those who could not otherwise qualify for a loan in order to get more people in homes. This was supported by both Republicans and Democrats. They touted the wonderful achievement that more Americans could achieve the dream of home ownership.

But because this policy was based on flawed economics, the inevitable crisis came. The banks were in trouble and the rich got bailed out. The poor and middle class lost their homes. The government in collusion with the banks suckered people into homes and then they lost them.

Not only that, but the poor are stuck with massive inflation due to the creation of new money at the Federal Reserve. Monetary expansion creates a growing gap between the rich and the poor. Inflation transfers money from the middle class to the wealthy. Ron Paul has explained that with a paper money system like we have, eventually the middle class is wiped out.

The solution is not to just to tax the rich more or condemn capitalism, but to understand how the Fed and government have destroyed the middle class. Corporate greed and misconduct that we see are a byproduct of a very flawed economic system that has nothing to do with free markets.

The subject is rather complex. But as this is my first post, I wanted to avail myself if you had any specific questions about Ron Paul or libertarians in general. I very much want to work with progressives on the issues that we can agree on.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
Joined:
Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am

Then the government forced banks to lend to those who could not otherwise qualify for a loan in order to get more people in homes.

Nonsense, the federal gov't did not force the banks to commit fraud. The gov't did not force the ratings agencies to issue AAA ratings for a product they had never seen.The gov't did not force the states to allow real estate assessors with no license [licenses are anathema to libertarians] The gov't did not force the banks to dump their fraudulent mortgages into mers circumventing filing fees, and proper tracking of contracts. Every bit of this mess is deregulation, which also goes counter to decentralization. Reagan's deregulation of banks prevented the existing state laws from applying, That's when mortgage securitization first appeared. S&L crises followed soon after.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

Nonsense, the federal gov't did not force the banks to commit fraud.......The gov't did not force the banks to dump their fraudulent mortgages into mers circumventing filing fees, and proper tracking of contracts.

Actually what you think is a "fraudulent" loan is just a legal contract some one decided they weren't going to pay back. The core of this crisis originates with everyday ordinary Americans who decided to stiff their fellow citizens.

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Calperson
Joined:
Dec. 11, 2010 10:21 am
Quote douglaslee:

Then the government forced banks to lend to those who could not otherwise qualify for a loan in order to get more people in homes.

Nonsense, the federal gov't did not force the banks to commit fraud. The gov't did not force the ratings agencies to issue AAA ratings for a product they had never seen.The gov't did not force the states to allow real estate assessors with no license [licenses are anathema to libertarians] The gov't did not force the banks to dump their fraudulent mortgages into mers circumventing filing fees, and proper tracking of contracts. Every bit of this mess is deregulation, which also goes counter to decentralization. Reagan's deregulation of banks prevented the existing state laws from applying, That's when mortgage securitization first appeared. S&L crises followed soon after.

This statement is quite ignorant. I hope you will at least look at the Austrian explanation for this crisis, at least to broaden your worldview. But let me ask you a few direct questions:

Do you think that the Federal Reserve policy of keeping interest rates too low for too long had any effect on the creation of this crisis? If you deny this, then you ignore a broad consensus among economists.

There was a lot of fraud and corporate abuse and I oppose it strongly. But are you saying that Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, the Community Reinvestment Act and other government affirmative action programs designed to get people in houses did not compel banks to make riskier loans and more loans than they otherwise would have?

This was not the whole problem but it was certainly part of the problem. To deny this, again, is to ignore reality,

Both government and corporations are at fault. However, the real culprit is the Federal Reserve and the monetary system that facilitates all this fraud and abuse by providing endless amounts of easy money for the criminals to gamble with.

Don't you see this? Read up a bit on Mises.org and learn about how the Federal Reserve creates bubbles and destroys the middle class through inflation. Any true progressive should oppose this monetary system.

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jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am

My question was "how do we talk to" Ron Paul fans who are unintentionally adding to the power base of the Republican establishment (Tea Party and Neocon) and who won't a) engage a solid debate and/or b) won't own up to the FACT that they are a part of the corporate Republican power base.

The corporate Republicans will take their membership in the constituency as a given and then LAUGH AT THEM, literally.

--

I didn't want to set myself up for the same old "pot shots" -- not on this topic, at least -- I'll debate it elsewhere. Ravi Batra was right about so much, as well. Does that verify everything about his outlook and philosophy? I have subscribed to gold boards for years (where Mises is deified), and sometimes the comedy value on those emails is unmatched outside of Fox News' analysis. And I have read Milton Friedman (not Austrian school, but close enough on a few very significant issues) and watched hours of his interviews -- he was very critical of Keynesian economics, and his free-market fundamentalist experiments were actually TRIED and the great majority FAILED, many causing misery to GENERATIONS of citizens. Try reading "Free To Choose" and then "Shock Doctrine," and you will see what I mean.

Besides, I remember reading Krugman's "The Great Unraveling" (2003) in 2010 and thinking that it was absolutely prescient.

--

Anyway, I believe you guys are wrong and tragically out-of-touch. But that is not the topic. The topic is: How do we talk someone who probably is NOT a fan of Boehner or McConnell out of SUPPORTING them by lining up behind the Ron Paul banner?

A logical extension of this topic would be: If someone is a dead-set Ron Paul fan (but not a follower of the mainstream Republicans), is there a way to mitigate their presence in the greater Republican constituency and the cultural debate, particularly since the outlook of the Ron Paul fringe is different on SO many issues than the mainstream or even Tea Party Republican outlook?

think_r
Joined:
Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am
Quote Calperson:
Quote douglaslee:

Nonsense, the federal gov't did not force the banks to commit fraud.......The gov't did not force the banks to dump their fraudulent mortgages into mers circumventing filing fees, and proper tracking of contracts.

Actually what you think is a "fraudulent" loan is just a legal contract some one decided they weren't going to pay back. The core of this crisis originates with everyday ordinary Americans who decided to stiff their fellow citizens.

To say that people just decided not to pay back their loans is the worst kind of cynical and dishonest right-wing spin. No, says the right, this is not a case of certain banks defrauding the system, it is just about poor people borrowing money and "deciding" not to pay it back. Douche bags!

Your idiotic comment ignores that lenders require people to qualify for loans. So, the Ninja (no income, no job) loans are the fault of the lenders who deliberately ignored common sense in order to put another mortgage on the books, because no lender ANYWHERE could expect an unemployed, poor person to pay back a loan of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was never any government mandate to give loans to people with no jobs or money, and you know it. The loans were approved in order to keep the bubble inflated.

Then, there were other people who would have qualified for a fixed mortgage, who were talked into an ARM. Do you feel like a bank should be able to get whatever they can cheat someone out of, or do you believe they have an obligation to be an honest broker? Come to think of it, do you believe that anyone should be honest in their business dealings or is that some unwritten law of capitalism, that it's every man for himself?

I just don't see how, given all of the evidence showing massive corruption by banks, that you can still blame the victims. Do you also believe that women bring rape upon themselves by walking the streets alone? Does your world view have any sense of justice that does not serve the rapist above the raped? Then, how does the fact that poor people wanted to own homes make them responsible for the way they were used by the banksters? I'd love to hear you explain that.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm
Quote jrodefeld:The housing bubble was a perfect example. The goal, a noble one at that, was to provide houses to everyone. The Fed inflated the housing bubble by keeping interest rates too low for too long which tricked people into over investing in houses and real estate.
Fed rates are at a record low, but the housing market is depressed and as soft as ever. The money is so cheap that if banks were actually interested in giving loans, there is a large market of very qualified potential homeowners.

Anyway, I would very much like for someone or perhaps a few folks to explore the original topic.

think_r
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Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

In modern American culture, bigotry is often couched in sometimes technocratic-sounding economic terms. It was not just a matter of someone not paying back a loan, but the failure of the housing market and the labor market, both. A whole lot of people had trouble paying back their mortgages simultanously. It is false to couch a social issue in purely individualistic terms. Free market economics frequently blurs the distinction between individual decision-making and social pressures that lead to choices being made by many on a similarly contorted basis. One thing that many economists seem to agree upon in general is that people do not have the same access to information. Lawyers sometimes can pick up on things which others may not be able to decipher by virtue of their knowledge of contracts and legalese. Bankers had more information about markets than did most people. When you are dealing with something that is esoteric and confusing like derivitives, and when they are conducted privately instead of on the open market, who can say for sure who knew what when?

It is not at all surprising, and Thom should not make so much of the fact that a Republican may agree with many Democrats on some issues. The Republicans, in years past, had lawmakers and even some presidents who were moderate to liberal on many issues and even if conservative, were willing to talk to the opposiiton in a reasonable way and get something accomplished through compromise and/or consensus. That is the way the system was intended to work, but that is not happening much now, especially on fiscal and economic issues.

I haven't followed Congressman Ron Paul's career, but I my assumption is that he might be willing to work with Democrats who agree with him on things like reform of the Federal Reserve system or winding down the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, but in most other areas, he is a dogmatist who says "no" rather than saying let's see where we can find common ground.

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Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote think_r:The topic is: How do we talk someone who probably is NOT a fan of Boehner or McConnell out of SUPPORTING them by lining up behind the Ron Paul banner?

A logical extension of this topic would be: If someone is a dead-set Ron Paul fan (but not a follower of the mainstream Republicans), is there a way to mitigate their presence in the greater Republican constituency and the cultural debate, particularly since the outlook of the Ron Paul fringe is different on SO many issues than the mainstream or even Tea Party Republican outlook

Now will someone PLEASE take a shot at the topic? I am sorry to "bump" this, but I don't think even one comment has elaborated on the original posting's intent.

think_r
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Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

Well logically I would constantly bring up the differences in Ron Paul's agenda and that of the mainstream republican agenda. Concentrate on the more polarized views and stay away from the cross section of similar views.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote think_r:

My question was "how do we talk to" Ron Paul fans who are unintentionally adding to the power base of the Republican establishment (Tea Party and Neocon) and who won't a) engage a solid debate and/or b) won't own up to the FACT that they are a part of the corporate Republican power base.

The corporate Republicans will take their membership in the constituency as a given and then LAUGH AT THEM, literally.

--

This is absolutely false and outrageous. Those who support Ron Paul are not supporting the Republican Party, we don't even care about the Republican Party. Why do you think that the GOP establishment has tried so hard to discriminate against Ron Paul supporters and keep them from participating in the party?

Ron Paul supporters will NOT support any other republican. Most of us will either vote for Ron Paul in the general, or if he is not the nominee, we will vote third party or stay at home. Party affiliation means very little to Ron Paul and it means nothing to me.

Our participation in the Republican Party, as it is unavoidable, is designed to take power away from the corporate Republicans and the establishment of that party.

We are driven by an ideology that is based on studying Constitutional law, economics and philosophy. Our goals are to push forward certain policies that we feel are so important based on their merits.

Now that you are talking to me, you can certainly know that I am game for any kind of debate and you should know that I am NOT adding to any "corporate Republican power base". You appear to be far to caught up in party labels and assigning people to certain groups than exploring the merits of individual policies.

Quote think_r: I didn't want to set myself up for the same old "pot shots" -- not on this topic, at least -- I'll debate it elsewhere. Ravi Batra was right about so much, as well. Does that verify everything about his outlook and philosophy? I have subscribed to gold boards for years (where Mises is deified), and sometimes the comedy value on those emails is unmatched outside of Fox News' analysis. And I have read Milton Friedman (not Austrian school, but close enough on a few very significant issues) and watched hours of his interviews -- he was very critical of Keynesian economics, and his free-market fundamentalist experiments were actually TRIED and the great majority FAILED, many causing misery to GENERATIONS of citizens. Try reading "Free To Choose" and then "Shock Doctrine," and you will see what I mean.

Besides, I remember reading Krugman's "The Great Unraveling" (2003) in 2010 and thinking that it was absolutely prescient.

Milton Friedman was absolutely NOT an Austrian economist by any stretch, so for you to assume that you can criticize those who are by linking us is rather desperate. What were the "free market principles" that were tried and failed? I would think that anyone supporting a free market economy would try to scale back government and cut the national debt. I would assume that they would also oppose a Federal Reserve system creating new money from scratch. Such a person would surely favor liberty and the Constitution.

Regardless of the merits of Milton Friedman (and there are some), NONE of these free market ideas have been tried in decades. Reagan's "supply side economics" was not Austrian at all, in fact it was merely a flavor of Keynesian intervention, albiet one that tended to favor producers (wealthier, the "suppliers") over the less well to do. There wasn't much deregulation either. And we certainly know that government spending shot through the roof under Reagan and every Republican president for fifty years.

The crux of the matter is that Keynesian stimulus is always and abject failure. Bad debt NEEDS to be liquidated. This is unavoidable. Resources need to be reallocated to more productive uses. The bubble was the problem and the recession is the cure. Krugman and the others just want government to create some kind of make-work jobs that produce nothing but improve unemployment numbers, while consuming finite resources.

Anyone should be able to see how ludicrous this is. I challenge you to debate me on Krugman's policy ideas. I don't think you can stand up to scrutiny.

Here is a youtube clip that illustrates how Krugman thinks. The second video is Peter Schiff's reaction to the clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1Fzzs7oVaA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktxqtaHJyww

If you think it is sound economics to waste valuable resources while getting nothing in return, then you surely are a Keynesian. Our own Great Depression and Japan's Lost Decade are examples of what happens when we follow Keynesian, interventionist policies.

--[/quote]

Quote think_r:

Anyway, I believe you guys are wrong and tragically out-of-touch. But that is not the topic. The topic is: How do we talk someone who probably is NOT a fan of Boehner or McConnell out of SUPPORTING them by lining up behind the Ron Paul banner?

A logical extension of this topic would be: If someone is a dead-set Ron Paul fan (but not a follower of the mainstream Republicans), is there a way to mitigate their presence in the greater Republican constituency and the cultural debate, particularly since the outlook of the Ron Paul fringe is different on SO many issues than the mainstream or even Tea Party Republican outlook?

You have to explain why you think I am supporting Boehner or McConnell by supporting Ron Paul? There is no logic to that statement. Your tone suggests that you don't care much about the issues but are simply bent of finding a way for "Team Blue" to win by creating discord among those who might participate in the Republican Party.

That is narrow minded and rather stupid. I don't think that way. I support Ron Paul because I have studied Constitutional law, Economics and History and I know that he is right on the great majority of issues. He is an incredibly rare example of a Statesman, someone who is highly educated and has the right answers for our country at this critical time in our history. I could care less about the Republican Party.

The GOP can go to hell for all I care, I just want these policies implemented to prevent a catestrophic dollar crises and a police state.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
Joined:
Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am
Quote think_r:
Quote jrodefeld:The housing bubble was a perfect example. The goal, a noble one at that, was to provide houses to everyone. The Fed inflated the housing bubble by keeping interest rates too low for too long which tricked people into over investing in houses and real estate.
Fed rates are at a record low, but the housing market is depressed and as soft as ever. The money is so cheap that if banks were actually interested in giving loans, there is a large market of very qualified potential homeowners.

Anyway, I would very much like for someone or perhaps a few folks to explore the original topic.

I don't mean to hijack the thread. However, since it is about how to talk to a Ron Paul supporter, I figured I should contribute.

Cheap money is the problem. Do you agree that interest rates are too low?

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am

Can't be done. Most libertarians are, as Thom puts it, Republicans who want to get laid and smoke dope. The only chance is to frame issues in the nurturing family frames, but since libertarians are so distrustful and insecure that generally doesn't penetrate.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

I for one appreciate the contribution of jrodefeld and think that Phaedrus76 should review this thread with less prejudice.

I don't completely agree with libertarian perspective and think that they misunderstand Krugman's and Keynesian position creating false distinctions, but...

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MEJ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism describes my views pretty well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxbeyn2xMQE&feature=related

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
Quote Phaedrus76:Can't be done. Most libertarians are, as Thom puts it, Republicans who want to get laid and smoke dope. The only chance is to frame issues in the nurturing family frames, but since libertarians are so distrustful and insecure that generally doesn't penetrate.

I want to see you debate the merits of Ron Paul's ideas. I know many libertarians and none of us are "insecure" or needlessly distrustful. I have NEVER been a Republican, except to vote for Ron Paul. I was registered as a Democrat. Most people I know where either Independents or Liberals before supporting Ron Paul.

Your characterization that libertarians are just Republicans who want to smoke pot is stupid and insulting. I have read a library worth of material on economics and US history and Constitutional law. Most Paul supporters are among the most educated and well read of anyone active in politics today. You seem to be substituting snark and condescension for actual critical thinking or a willingness to debate the merits of have a society that follows the Constitution.

At the very least, you should be willing and able to explore the ideas of the Austrian school and libertarian intellectuals, if only to make you a more open minded person with greater depth.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am
Quote MEJ:

I for one appreciate the contribution of jrodefeld and think that Phaedrus76 should review this thread with less prejudice.

I don't completely agree with libertarian perspective and think that they misunderstand Krugman's and Keynesian position creating false distinctions, but...

Well, I appreciate that. Out of Ron Paul's entire platform, the thing that I think is most critical is to recognize that economists have been using flawed and debunked ideas (Keynes) for many decades and we NEED to take the advice of the Austrian economists and allow the correction to occur and move towards sound money and away from fiat money controlled in secret.

If we follow this course we will see a fifteen year depression and the destruction of the US dollar. That is why I am so animated and passionate about Ron Paul at this time because the stakes are so high.

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jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am

Sorry, jr, if I hit a nerve. Do you listen to Thom Hartmann? Everyone the topic libertarians comes up, he repeats the laid/ dope line.
So I will start at the top, in what ways would you follow the constitution? Different from current policy.
The Fed reserve banking system is one of Paul's biggest demons, how would you tear that down, and what will you replace it with?
Evil govt regulations are always at the top of the libertarians' gripes, so how much better will America be with more polluted rivers, more workers killed on the job, and big rig trucks on the road with unsafe brakes?
As for your immediate defensive whine about your and your friends' educations and book learning abilities, can you tell us, in the context of the commerce clause, and the necessary and proper clause, what is the federal govt doing today that is unconstitutional?
All Americans have joined Iceland, Ireland, Chile and the UK in our examination of the Austrian school, and while the very rich enjoy the freedom to exploit and pollute, the unemployed and destitute would prefer a govt that protects all our citizens.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

I have looked at Mises.org:

Fellowships

Through our Fellowships, we give top students of the Austrian School the practical support and intellectual tools they need to thrive in today's academic setting. We provide books and periodicals, internships, academic counseling, and financial assistance to help them become the professors and intellectual leaders of tomorrow. In-house fellowships are available for dissertation writing and post-doc work. Please apply! Students who have been accepted count it as the scholarly highlight of their lives.

Research

Serious scholarly work in economic theory and intellectual history does not receive the support it deserves from large foundations. To fill this crucial gap, the Mises Institute offers long-term grants for in-depth research in the Austrian tradition. Among the projects currently being backed are studies in U.S. banking history, the economics of cryptography, the viability of currency boards, and biographical studies of the Austrian School's major figures and their role in intellectual history.

(from mises.org)

With their help, and thousands of donors in 50 states and 80 foreign countries

All this before I get halfway through the About page. Nice to see an agendized, ideological think tank that is actively funding the cultivation of its own legend through paid propaganda creation...I mean, research!

By the way, as I said above, this is not my first time at this particular rodeo. I will spare everyone the point-by-point refutation and try to keep my comments on the fundamentals.

--

Soros' "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets" (2008), which I also read shortly after its release, is a (relatively short) study in a few facets of "big finance" and their role in the bubble/crash. A particular focus is mass investor psychology and its ability to create a groupthink in the investment community which pushes demand paradoxically higher as price goes up, widening cycles far beyond what theoretical free markets would dictate, particularly in an environment with lax regulation of "innovative" financial instruments and high amounts of leverage (i.e.: a market in which "free-market liberty" tends to take relative precedence over taxation and government intervention).

Would you agree that having a Wall Street with referees and rules beats having an anarchic investment market? These referees and rules can be loosely referred to as "regulation." And, I believe firmly, as Soros has been quoted, that "excessive deregulation is at the root of the current crisis." As Thom points out routinely, Soros and Buffett are almost alone in standing to lose financially if their suggestions and philosophies got put into play -- virtually any other advocate of any economic philosophy would stand to gain personally from their proposed approach reaching a higher profile -- whether financially in a personal way, financially through winning/keeping the favor of big money patronage, or even by gaining notoreity and "expert pundit" status. Those two have more than a little insight into, shall we say, the applied science of economics, and are, frankly, the closest to impartiality we will EVER get in this realm.

And what ARE their suggestions? We know that Soros supports a more regulated investment environment. As for Buffett: More taxes (not even bringing us up to 90's levels) on upper-crust incomes (as suggested in his recent essay) -- use our resources to put people back to work to create demand within the marketplace -- and institute a higher level of protectionism to keep jobs at home. (Fortune article). And he called derivatives "time bombs" with "daisy-chain risk," outlining the potentially disastrous implications of highly leveraged counter-party risk among people who "trade extensively with one other [sic]. The troubles of one could quickly infect the others." He was putting up this urgent red flag...in 2002 (Berkshire document)!

--

I believe that history will judge that for a mature, 1st world, 20th/21st century society, emphasizing free-market dynamics is beneficial only to a point, and beyond this optimal point of balance, laissez-faire policies serve only to contribute to capitalism's natural push toward monopoly/oligarchy (what Thom calls "the cancer stage of capitalism") as companies/concerns acquire or eliminate each other in the race to efficiency, with the end result being that unrestrained free-market "liberty" actually ends up deactivating Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" (profit motive) -- the very underpinning of virtually every free market argument -- by removing or short circuiting competition and, thereby, squelching innovation within the marketplace.

Moreover, history will show the early 2000's U.K., U.S., Australia, and Ireland, in particular, to have been well past that point of balance, with the Northern European countries and Switzerland having been much closer to the maintenance of an optimal "playing field." And followers of Austrian economics and the Paul philosophy will continue to be categorized as a faction on the fringe, with a refined consensus view that they were marginalized for reasons that look even more valid in hindsight.

And I am sorry that you feel that the mainstream media ignores Ron Paul. For someone who is so "ignored," he sure gets a lot of press, from CNN to Fox to radio, and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone with a pretty good handle on American politics who hasn't heard him air his views in the media and can't at least give you their "two cents" on his worldview. And he has even gotten a fair shake from those who put together the traveling debate/circus shows that they are putting on this year. Kucinich sued and lost trying to get on stage in Nevada in '08.

think_r
Joined:
Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

I do listen to Thom Hartmann and I have certain problems with his characterization of libertarians. Most Progressives I know would not dare to get into the ideas of a real intellectual like Ludwig von Mises, but would substitute that for a snarky line like the one you paroted and quickly move on. I have also noticed that Thom likes to criticize Ayn Rand and will continually hold her up as the figure representing libertarians, even though she was not a libertarian nor an economist. Her ideology, Objectivism, was rather cold and she came across as uncompassionate. There is merit to some of what she wrote, but she was not a libertarian and she was not an intellectual heavy weight in my estimation. But her rhetoric was such that those who want to dismiss anyone who might believe in a smaller government will use her to "prove" that all individuals who believe in the market economy want the poor to die, are uncompassionate and cold, etc. I have listened to Thom and many Progressives and I feel that the way they gloss over vitally important economic issues relating to money and interest rates and the market with snark and demagoguery is rather offensive and does a diservice to the national dialogue.

With that being said, i will now answer your questions. As far as the Constitution goes, I believe you would find it extremely difficult to argue (as you seem to be doing) that our current government follows and adheres to the Constitution. If you want to know what the Constitution means, you must refer to the ratifying conventions. Within these discussions, the people of the states who voluntarily came together to form the Union, decided what the Constitution meant and what agreements they were making. The Constitution mandated a very limited federal government with greater state sovereignty. The colonists of the day feared the centralization of power which could mean the emergence of a king or authoritarian state that would jeopardize everything they fought for.

The Constitution was meant to be a rigid document that expressly delegated certain functions to the Federal government. The rest were left to the states. This was explicit and EVERYONE at those ratifying conventions knew that this was what the constitution meant. They allowed for amending the constitution over time. But the process was designed to be slow and deliberate. They rejected democracy outright. This nation was a Republic. A republic is a government bound by laws. A democracy is mob rule. The supreme law of the land is the Constitution.

Having said all that, in the 20th century, we have moved away from following the Constitution to the point where we don't even care, some politicians claim that the document is "anachronistic" and has no merit on modern society. One of the first betrayals was the idea that the constitution is a "living, breathing document" which can be interpreted so broadly as to lose all meaning. Jefferson warned us against making the constitution a "blank paper by contruction". Yet this is what has happened unfortunately.

Power tends to corrupt. And governments grow and seek to remove all roadblocks to their accumulation of power. The Constitution was a big obstruction. This is the natural course of events without a vigilent public keeping the politicians in check. Every American, including progressives, should be concerned about a government that violates its own laws. You mentioned the commerce clause and the necessary and proper clause as justifications for a lot of what the Federal government does. This is a fallacious argument that no serious constitutional scholar would make. The definitions of these clauses have been twisted and distorted so much as to be laughable. The "general welfare" clause is another that is used to justify the entire welfare state. But that is ridiculous. Transfer payments from some Americans to other Americans is not general welfare, it is specific welfare. This clause meant that in the execution of its delegated functions, the Federal government should do things that are only in the interest of everyone, not in the interest of some at the expense of others. Having an adiquate national defense benefits all of us. But most government welfare is designed to benefit some at the expense of others.

As to the necessary and proper clause, here are some quotes that will shed some light on what it ACTUALLY means. These were borrowed from this page: http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/iowa-teacher-accuses-ron-paul-of-ignorance-of-constitution/

(1) 1. George Nicholas, future attorney general of Kentucky, told the Virginia ratifying convention (and remember, according to James Madison it is to the ratifying conventions that we turn for constitutional interpretation) that the necessary and proper clause “only enables them [Congress] to carry into execution the powers given to them, but gives them no additional power.”

(2) 2. In Federalist #33, Alexander Hamilton noted that the clause only made explicit what was logically and unavoidably implied in the Constitution’s very nature, and that it added nothing other than simple clarification: “It may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses [necessary and proper and the supremacy clause] were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article. They are only declaratory of a truth which would have resulted by necessary and unavoidable implication from the very act of constituting a federal government, and vesting it with certain specified powers.”

3. The Constitution allows only the means which are “necessary,” not those which are merely “convenient” for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a conveniencein some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed. Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessarmeans, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory.

It is clear that politicians and our courts have completely betrayed the actual meaning of these clauses. I defy you to do any actual research regarding the ratifying conventions or read any scholarly work on the Constitution that shows anything different.

As to what our Federal Government does that is Constitutional, it is a long list so I will narrow it down to the big items. All wars since WWII are unconstitutional because we need a declaration of war by the Congress. The Departments of Education, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Commerce and Health and Human Services are Unconstitutional. Fiat money is unconstitution (no thing but gold and silver is legal tender according to our constitution). The Patriot Act is unconstitutional. Drone attacks in foreign countries are unconstitutional. There is not an amendment that our government does not routinely violate.

We have to remember the intent of the Constitution. Its purpose is to restrain the government from unchecked growth and protect the peoples liberties. Today, our liberties are greatly under attack and the growth of government is exponential. We have no privacy left and the president has assumed vast powers that are denied to him by the Constitution, but reside with Congress. Executive Orders are unconstitutional. And our president can assissinate American citizens without a trial.

Now, when most progressives are confronted with the constitutional argument against what our federal government does, they inevitably lose the argument based on the facts. They are forced to concede that much or most of what our government does is in violation of the constitution. However, they resort to saying "Who cares?", and "We live in a different time, so rigidly following a document written a couple hundred years ago makes no sense." What progressives SHOULD say is that a lot of what they want the government to do is illegal and they should concede the point. The next step is to allow the shrinking of the federal government back to the confines of that document. Then, should they desire universal health care, they should seek a Constitutional amendment. Or if they want a department of education, they should seek an amendment. If you don't do this, you don't believe in our Republic or our constitution.

As for the Federal Reserve, there are a few steps that can be taken to move in the right direction. Number one is to have complete and total transperancy with regular, full audits. The second would be to remove the "independence" of the Fed, stop paying interest on the debt to private bankers and place the functions of the Fed under Treasury, with people accountable to the voters. Then we need to back our currency with a hard asset like gold and silver to prevent inflation and stabilize the dollar. This will enable people to save for the future because the money won't be depreciating so quickly. We can have savings drive investment and production, rather than mountains of debt.

Furthermore, we repeal legal tender laws and allow all private currencies to circulate. People could voluntarily get out of the dollar and protect themselves with a sounder currency if it were allowed to circulate freely. Any Progressive who cares about the poor and middle class MUST oppose the Federal Reserve on principle. It robs the poor through inflation and makes the rich richer. It destroys the middle class and provides the incentive for gambling on Wall Street with each injection of new money from the Fed's discount window. It also means that politicians can expand their power without direct taxation because inflation is a hidden tax.

I suggest you read End the Fed by Ron Paul for a more in depth view on the benefits of eliminating this central bank.

About regulations, of course we would NOT be better off with more polluted rivers, more workers killed, etc. But why would you think that all regulations make us safer? Obviously that is not the case. We all want to prevent corporate crime and abuse yet there are better ways to accomplish this fact. The biggest fallacy that most progressives cling to is the idea that all businessmen and corporations want a free market and want to get rid of regulations. On the contrary, corporations HATE the free market. They don't want to face competition or bankruptcy. Innovating and serving the consumer is hard work. Most frequently, special interests lobby for MORE regulations and government control of the economy. They want to control the regulators and write the rules to hurt their competitors. So this constant mantra by the left for "more regulations, more regulations" to solve any and all problems is rather nonsensical when in fact a majority of rules and regulations on the books were NEVER intended to protect the people but in fact protect big industry and hurt the small businessman. For every Glass-Steagal rule that you could argue was necessary, there are a hundred rules and regulations that only hurt the economy and protect the big industries. We can and should get rid of a lot of regulations but we would not be any less safe or protected. It benefits us all to have a vibrant, healthy economy with high production and good jobs. Many regulations are counterproductive and are never designed to protect us. You have to come to understand this.

An example is the 2008 economic crisis. We bailed out the banks, protecting them from failure for their actions. They behaved badly and continue to do so. Then the outrage came from the large bonuses they gave themselves. Because of this, there was an outcry for more regulations to punish the big banks, so we created Dodd Frank and a number of other bills that were supposed to solve the problem. These are a lot of new rules and regulations that will be on the books forever. And before the bill was even passed, the lobbyists got in all their loopholes so the big banks won't be affected.

An alternative idea would be to let all these banks fail. If they didn't know they would be bailed out they wouldn't have acted so recklessly in the first place. The fear of bankruptcy is a tremendous regulator in itself. There are market incentives that can do better than most regulators in Washington ever could.

I am not arguing that we should get rid of all regulation. I am saying that most of these rules don't do what you think they do. They are not exactly looking out for you and me. The more complicated the rules of the game, the more it benefits the insiders and special interests in Washington. Honest businessmen suffer and you and I suffer. They are regulating our economic activity as well.

So, yes, we could and should get rid of a lot of current regulations and replace them with market regulations, bankruptcy, and fair and just laws and we would be better protected. And we wouldn't destroy economic growth in the process.

Don't believe everything you have been taught. There is a lot of misinformation and propaganda out there.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
Joined:
Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am
Quote think_r:

I have looked at Mises.org:

Fellowships

Through our Fellowships, we give top students of the Austrian School the practical support and intellectual tools they need to thrive in today's academic setting. We provide books and periodicals, internships, academic counseling, and financial assistance to help them become the professors and intellectual leaders of tomorrow. In-house fellowships are available for dissertation writing and post-doc work. Please apply! Students who have been accepted count it as the scholarly highlight of their lives.

Research

Serious scholarly work in economic theory and intellectual history does not receive the support it deserves from large foundations. To fill this crucial gap, the Mises Institute offers long-term grants for in-depth research in the Austrian tradition. Among the projects currently being backed are studies in U.S. banking history, the economics of cryptography, the viability of currency boards, and biographical studies of the Austrian School's major figures and their role in intellectual history.

(from mises.org)

With their help, and thousands of donors in 50 states and 80 foreign countries

All this before I get halfway through the About page. Nice to see an agendized, ideological think tank that is actively funding the cultivation of its own legend through paid propaganda creation...I mean, research!

By the way, as I said above, this is not my first time at this particular rodeo. I will spare everyone the point-by-point refutation and try to keep my comments on the fundamentals.

What exactly do you find objectionable about these statements? You think it is outrageous that an organization dedicated to educating people about the Austrian economic school should promote itself and try and reach as many people as it can?

As to your dig about it being "propaganda", what are you talking about? You mean as oppose to all the government funded "research" that happens to always arrive at a conclusion that meshes with a political agenda? Yeah, that's not propagana, only the tireless work of a dedicated minority whose chosen occupation means that they will NOT be favored by political interests and banking interests, THAT'S the propagana.

Do you know anything about Ludwig von Mises and his work? Even if you disagree with the Austrians, to deny that Mises and his contemporaries have contributed immeasurably to our economic understand is the height of absurdity.

Watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpATNp5DjYI

You think THIS man was a shallow propagandist? Don't make me laugh.

--

Soros' "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets" (2008), which I also read shortly after its release, is a (relatively short) study in a few facets of "big finance" and their role in the bubble/crash. A particular focus is mass investor psychology and its ability to create a groupthink in the investment community which pushes demand paradoxically higher as price goes up, widening cycles far beyond what theoretical free markets would dictate, particularly in an environment with lax regulation of "innovative" financial instruments and high amounts of leverage (i.e.: a market in which "free-market liberty" tends to take relative precedence over taxation and government intervention).

Would you agree that having a Wall Street with referees and rules beats having an anarchic investment market? These referees and rules can be loosely referred to as "regulation." And, I believe firmly, as Soros has been quoted, that "excessive deregulation is at the root of the current crisis." As Thom points out routinely, Soros and Buffett are almost alone in standing to lose financially if their suggestions and philosophies got put into play -- virtually any other advocate of any economic philosophy would stand to gain personally from their proposed approach reaching a higher profile -- whether financially in a personal way, financially through winning/keeping the favor of big money patronage, or even by gaining notoreity and "expert pundit" status. Those two have more than a little insight into, shall we say, the applied science of economics, and are, frankly, the closest to impartiality we will EVER get in this realm.

You are completely wrong. I don't know what could be more AGAINST the interests of the big corporations and the "power elite" than the elimination of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard. Do you understand what this would mean? It would mean no more bailouts. No more easy money and corporate welfare. It would mean less power to big corporations and more power for the average citizen. All banks and corporate interests want fiat money because it grants them immeasurable power over the economy. The politicians want it because they can tax in secret and expand their power endlessly. Corporate corruption thrives off fiat money. Take that away and corporate misconduct is greatly reduced. Without paper money, the income disparity is less. Those that are successful are able to satisfy more customers and be more productive, adding value to society as a whole.

Under Sound Money, the successful are like Steve Jobs. People like Bernie Madoff don't exist because the casino of easy money doesn't exist. You can't really have looked at the Austrian School and be unable to grasp this concept.

So, why don't you tell me what would be less in the interest of big corporations and the "rich" than eliminating the flow of easy money from the Federal Reserve?

And what ARE their suggestions? We know that Soros supports a more regulated investment environment. As for Buffett: More taxes (not even bringing us up to 90's levels) on upper-crust incomes (as suggested in his recent essay) -- use our resources to put people back to work to create demand within the marketplace -- and institute a higher level of protectionism to keep jobs at home. (Fortune article). And he called derivatives "time bombs" with "daisy-chain risk," outlining the potentially disastrous implications of highly leveraged counter-party risk among people who "trade extensively with one other [sic]. The troubles of one could quickly infect the others." He was putting up this urgent red flag...in 2002 (Berkshire document)!

Derivatives are time bombs. Soros is not serious or worth listening to. Buffett makes some valid points. The mantra is simply "more regulation, more regulation". However, how could the derivative market even exist under Austrian principles?

You agree that we had a financial bubble, right? Was the trouble that we created a bubble or that we let it burst? We should have never created an unsustainable bubble in the first place. Regulations absolutely did NOT cause this crisis. How could getting rid of regulations lead to a financial bubble being formed?

In 2008, Bush made the statement that "Wall Street got drunk". He was right, but the Fed provided the alcohol. The people on Wall Street are money junkies and will do anything to make a profit. We know that. But the best way to address the problem is not to go after the drunkard, but to prevent the bartender from giving him any alcohol in the first place.

Regulations cannot compensate for the distortions created by artificially low interest rates that discouraged savings and encouraged over production of housing.

Tell me where I am going wrong here?

--

I believe that history will judge that for a mature, 1st world, 20th/21st century society, emphasizing free-market dynamics is beneficial only to a point, and beyond this optimal point of balance, laissez-faire policies serve only to contribute to capitalism's natural push toward monopoly/oligarchy (what Thom calls "the cancer stage of capitalism") as companies/concerns acquire or eliminate each other in the race to efficiency, with the end result being that unrestrained free-market "liberty" actually ends up deactivating Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" (profit motive) -- the very underpinning of virtually every free market argument -- by removing or short circuiting competition and, thereby, squelching innovation within the marketplace.

Again, you are wrong. Free markets serve to discourage monopolies from forming. We have to focus on government doing what they should be doing. Their role is to not favor any industry through tax code, regulatory policy or the courts. There role is to stay out of economic life generally, but step in to enforce contracts, protect property rights, prosecute fraud and prevent anyone from harming anyone else. In this environment, the formation of monopolies is nearly impossible. Throughout history there have been only a few examples of "natural monopolies" where a certain business attained monopoly status without government intervention. However, this is extremely rare and often short lived. And it ONLY happens when that company is so exceptional that it provides the greatest product and the best price, serves the consumer the best and is chosen voluntarily by many individuals. As a rule, however, monopolies don't exist in real market conditions.

We need to condemn the economic system in this country but we cannot call it capitalism. What we have is closer to fascism, the merger of state and corporate power. That is why we have monopolies, because the government, through its labarynthine regulatory code, tax policy and subsidization, effectively grants monopolies to certain companies and sabotages the natural mechanisms of the marketplace.

Moreover, history will show the early 2000's U.K., U.S., Australia, and Ireland, in particular, to have been well past that point of balance, with the Northern European countries and Switzerland having been much closer to the maintenance of an optimal "playing field." And followers of Austrian economics and the Paul philosophy will continue to be categorized as a faction on the fringe, with a refined consensus view that they were marginalized for reasons that look even more valid in hindsight.

Actually, whether you realize it or not, what is happening today is the refutation of Keynesian economic theory. History will prove Paul correct. We WILL go back to a sounder currency and when we do, it will seem insane in hindsight, that we thought we could exist indefinitely on easy money as the reserve currency of the world. What this has done is destroy the world economy. Countless people will have suffered due to the reckless monetary policy of Greenspan and Bernanke.

Why don't you explain how Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and adherents of the Austrian School correctly predicted this economic crisis with great precision and accuracy literally YEARS before it happened while the people you listened to were overwhelmingly clueless till right before it happened?

And I am sorry that you feel that the mainstream media ignores Ron Paul. For someone who is so "ignored," he sure gets a lot of press, from CNN to Fox to radio, and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone with a pretty good handle on American politics who hasn't heard him air his views in the media and can't at least give you their "two cents" on his worldview. And he has even gotten a fair shake from those who put together the traveling debate/circus shows that they are putting on this year. Kucinich sued and lost trying to get on stage in Nevada in '08.

I wouldn't say that the mainstream media "ignores" Ron Paul. He certainly has fairly high name recognition. What they aren't doing is allowing viewers to see him as a viable candidate for president. He has a lot of impressive accomplishments this cycle but most people don't know about them. And its been well documented that he has been reported on less than nearly every other candidate, included all those that he is handily beating in polling and fundraising. He is running great TV ads, he has strong organization in all early primary states, he has raised millions, he constantly polls in double digits with rock solid support, and he wins almost all straw polls including virtually tying at the Ames straw poll. If the media decided to get behind him and back him like they did with Herman Cain in the last month or so, he would shoot up to 20% nationally by next week. He is actually a real threat to win Iowa and reporters on the ground there marvel at his organization.

Now, I don't expect you or everyone here to agree with Ron Paul on everything. But you don't have to agree with him to realize that, intellectually, he towers over this Republican field. He puts them to shame. He obviously has a lot of integrity and will not be bought off. He actually understands economics and the relevent fields for the office.

Wouldn't our country be better served by Ron Paul getting the Republican nomination instead of Romney or Cain? At the very least he would bring up issues that need to be discussed, whether it be about presidential authority, the Federal Reserve, ending wars overseas or whatever. We would all be served by hearing a debate between Paul and Obama played out over six months or so.

For a lot of people, particularly on the left, Ron Paul is someone they have mixed feelings about. They might strongly disagree with him on economic issues. But they might also feel that he is the best on foreign policy. Whoever you are, I would bet that Paul articulates some idea or policy that you support better than any other politician. Maybe you want to eliminate the war on drugs. Or you want to cut the Defense Budget. Perhaps you are sick of presidents assuming powers they shouldn't have through Executive Orders. Paul speaks articulately and honestly on a variety of issues and it is difficult to pigeonhole him.

What you need to think about with Ron Paul is not whether you agree with him on everything. But, rather, what you think he might be able to accomplish in one term. What are his priorities? Do you think we need to make some sort of fundamental change in Washington? Even for a progressive that doesn't understand or approve of his economic ideas, a strong case could be made that the good far outweigh the bad in terms of what he would actually do as president, like cut corporate welfare, bring the troops home and audit the Fed.

Wouldn't we be better off with Paul in the general election rather than Romney? And if it was inevitable that Obama would lose, who would you rather see among the Republicans? At least Ron Paul would do some things you could support and is honest and not bought and paid for.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
Joined:
Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am

Ron Paul baffles Wolf Blitzer on every question asked.

Watch the video http://www.sovereignindependent.com/?p=28440 Ron Paul on Meet the Press - 2011-10-23 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZRHa8GIYo4 Ron Paul – Government Is not a Business

http://www.prisonplanet.com/ron-paul-government-is-not-a-business.html

Five minutes of brilliance! (watch it to the end)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M98ob3PyHPgBanned Commercial Ron Paul 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eeQBAHeOr8Ron Paul: 'Freedom Is a Young Idea and We're Throwing It Away'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXKrdE2x5ogRon Paul Interview: 45 Min.

Road to the Whitehouse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvlEGTSVoiMRon Paul: America on the Road to Serfdom

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn72NOoWjp4COOL Ron Paul Animation"Answer for 2012"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyq1UUys9vQRon Paul Ad - Conviction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUNIeOB0whI Ron Paul Cartoon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMxca8hhGhsBetter Off? Ron Paul for President 2012, the Revolution Continues!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPXqwAkld-Y&feature=grec_indexRon Paul educates some liberals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgp-kOquQAc&feature=youtu.beRon Paul at Webster Hall NYC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNI9Zj_8mwI


Obama supporter defects to Ron Paul, worries about raising daughter in America
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AipLrA1LMs

elgiabo's picture
elgiabo
Joined:
Oct. 8, 2011 1:29 pm
Quote think_r:

What do you do when you find out that one of your friends is a Ron Paul fan?

Be his friend and back him up.

elgiabo's picture
elgiabo
Joined:
Oct. 8, 2011 1:29 pm

The Constitution was meant to be a rigid document that expressly delegated certain functions to the Federal government. The rest were left to the states. This was explicit and EVERYONE at those ratifying conventions knew that this was what the constitution meant.


Really?

Under the Art. of Conf., the national govt had few powers, and they were explicit and limited.

At the Constitutional Convention, 2 competing veiws of our future were in attendance, 1) those who wanted a much stronger national govt, with unlimited powers---

"The National Legislature shall have power "to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent," and "to negative all laws passed by the States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union.""

---

And 2) those who agreed that the Art. of Conf. were too weak, and allowed for the states to have too much power, but still feared a strong, central govt.

The necessary and proper clause is a constitutional compromise, between the Federalist wanting not to limit Congressional powers —a vital part of a wholly national arrangement—and the Antifederalist wanting to limit Congress to expressed limits.

Now, if you choose to ignore :

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

---

General Welfare, Progress of Science and useful Arts, and any Department.

But fine, you want to severely limit the federal constitution, cool. Where can I find a lawyer, who'll help me sue every broadcaster, and airline who violates my property rights, by using my airspace without compensating me.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
I suggest you read Mises, Hazlitt, Rothbard and others in depth.

This statement is quite ignorant. I hope you will at least look at the Austrian explanation for this crisis, at least to broaden your worldview.

Read up a bit on Mises.org

I want to see you debate the merits of Ron Paul's ideas.

At the very least, you should be willing and able to explore the ideas of the Austrian school and libertarian intellectuals, if only to make you a more open minded person with greater depth.

I suggest you read End the Fed by Ron Paul for a more in depth view on the benefits of eliminating this central bank.

Followed up by:

Soros is not serious or worth listening to.
What's next -- "My expert can beat up your expert?" Or should we re-title this topic "Triumph of the Open Mind?". And need I point out the irony of a prima facie rejection of Soros' ideas coming from you? Someone in this conversation subscribes to a fringe ideology, and it is not me. And what about "predictions?" Obviously the "man who broke the Bank of England" just got lucky...for 40+ years...Besides, my Soros reference concerned mass investor psychology and its ability to distort markets away from "efficiency" -- he is an unequivocal expert at spotting and exploiting those kinds of dynamics, and I'd trust him to have a relevant perspective on it.

--

For the record, out of an eagerness for an open dialogue, I took the bait pretty early on and jumped into the fray -- my mistake -- and the consistently off-topic rants "sucked all the oxygen out of the room" here -- considering that the topic I posted had NOTHING to do with the validity (or lack thereof) of specific facets of one or another ideology espoused by Ron Paul (a topic that has been "done to death") and EVERYTHING to do with the Ron Paul phoenomenon and its effect on party politics and actual legislative outcomes.

So when you refer to "Team Blue" and "party labels," yes, that is the topic, not "let's debate the merits of Ron Paul." But if your goal was to hijack the thread, I think you did a marvelous job, and mises.org probably got dozens of extra views thanks to your efforts here.

think_r
Joined:
Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

What you need to tell Ron Paul fans is that libertarian economic principles (unfettered marketplace) are what have brought the entire World's economy to the brink of collapse. Dr. Paul appears to be a harmless, benign figure but looks can be deceiving, he espouses a dangerous theory.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/mdhess/blog/2011/11/how-libertarian-economic-principles-poison-society

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mdhess
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm
Quote elgiabo:
Quote think_r:

What do you do when you find out that one of your friends is a Ron Paul fan?

Be his friend and back him up.

Nice soundbite, but I'm afraid I can't do that. As if we need "laundry lists," here is one link provided above (thanks): http://www.obamaftw.com/blog/ron-paul/ron-paul-2012-ron-paul-economy

And this one was the subject of a Norman Goldman segment: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/11/04/10-reasons-not-to-vote-for-paul/

Ron Paul is a radical ideologue with some common sense ideas and some ideas that are WAY out on the fringe. In Congress, he is relegated to taking potshot after potshot and doing a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking -- I am halfway through reading "End The Fed" (checked out from the library -- no, I didn't buy it -- don't want my money supporting him), and, aside from the fact that every other footnote is somehow from the Auburn/Mises think tank (like Fox quoting WSJ -- not necessarily circular reasoning, but makes you suspicious when it becomes a pattern), here is my impression so far: "Crisis/strife happened on [person X]'s watch, [X] belongs to [Y] school of thought, so [Y] school of thought is associated with it and is therefore invalid." And don't forget to end the paragraph with "Rothbard/Mises/Hazlitt saw this coming a mile away."

Like I said above, so did Ravi Batra...

Seriously, in the "End The Fed" world, somehow "sound money" (euphemism for tying our currency's value to that of an historically volatile commodity, gold) sprinkles Libertarian fairy dust on our national policy and keeps us out of war. I'd give the exact page number if I had the book on me -- I don't buy it. As a rule, utopian political philosophies don't work in a pragmatic world.

think_r
Joined:
Sep. 26, 2010 9:38 am

This may be counterintuitive but what progressives need to do is support Ron Paul in next year's GOP primaries and caucuses and make friends with his supporters in the process. If enough of us do this, we can throw the GOP convention in Tampa Bay into chaos. It would probably result in a massive walk out by Paul supporters and possibly become the start of a third party coalition candidacy of Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders. Such a coalition in government would not allow for Paul's draconian wishes to be fullfilled in cutting domestic programs, but it would enable deep cuts in the military industrial castrophe. Paul has already designated any and all savings to go half toward debt reduction and half toward shoring up entitlements. He advocates this so he can fund his "opt out" proposal to allow young people to opt out of the system entirely. That proposal will go nowhere without 60 libertarian Senators. But with a coalition of libertarians and progressives in office, a deal could be struck to send that half of the savings to the states in block grants based strictly on population to be used as each state wishes. Not an ideal deal but one which busts up the gobal corporate duopoly and reframes the debate away from empire building and maintenance toward how best to build a peaceful green economy. For more on this idea see: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-blog-is-not-about-endorsing.html

Cornelius's picture
Cornelius
Joined:
Jan. 21, 2011 6:28 am

Ron Paul is like a very fine grandfather clock that no longer runs. He is right twice a day, profoundly so, but then there is the rest of the day and night.

Some otherwise intelligent people become Scientologists too. There is an allure to the certainty of ideology, and Paul and the Libertarians love this utopian fantasy world of moral order and rationality too much to allow reality to get in the way. I have heard Paul try to explain Austrian Economics, and it always goes to pure theory with no historical practical record of success. In other words, this is a religion and trying to convert someone out of their religion is not likely to work or gain friends.

Practical alliances on points of policy contact are enough. The idea of making Bernie stand by Paul with a straight face is cruel. Comparing the two is ridiculous. Bernie thinks and deals with reality without having a cult prescription ready to explain everything.

The Fannie/Freddie meme is a serious lie contrary to the facts of the case. In addition, it was Bush who tried to make them buy the bad mortgages, they resisted and barely figured in that market. The federal policy was anti-red lining, not a subsidy program for people who could not afford a mortgage. They had nothing to do with the private mortgage firms who committed these crimes.

Finally, the argument about money can have us all agree about the frauds of Wall St while we disagree about how to solve the problem. Libertarian economics begs all the vital social questions that make democracy the real issue before us.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC,

I agree with your criticisms of Paul in particular and libertarianism in general, but I am not sure that you understand my point. It's about strategic voting, changing the debate, making sure it's not the same old story of the Democratic candidate trying to prove he'll put the pentagon budget on steroids as much so as his neocon rival will. It's about what can realistically be done given the rules of the Senate which neither party is willing to change. It's about a temporary alliance to gain the needed numbers to strike a mortal blow against a common enemy so that we can have a real debate about how to use or not use the government for puposes of economic growth and justice. I am finding it extremely difficult to justify voting in a Democratic primary when thanks to gerrymandering and incumbency, there are no seriously contested races up or down the ballot between a progressive and a blue dog.

A coalition President Paul will never be able to do what a libertarian fantasy President Paul wants to do. I don't really believe that the GOP will nominate him even if he won a majority of the votes in the upcoming primaries. I don't believe our electoral college and congress will allow a plurality winning coalition campaign to occupy the White House, but I do believe that Paul and his supporters will welcome progressives on board when they see how much exposure it will give their candidate. And if by chance such a coalition wins, I believe it will be better for America than the present plan of populist rhetoric and premature capitulation.

Even if don't want to vote for him in the general election, do you not think it is wiser to have Paul in the general election debate along side Romney and Obama than to have the two corporatists alone on stage having the same tired old pissing contest over who's the most violent?

Do you have any competitive races between a liberal and a conservative in your primary anywhere on your ballot? If not, how are you not wasting your vote, casting it symbolically but not substantively? What possible harm could come from jumping ship to help drown the enemy when staying on board the current Democratic ship only solidifies the enemy's strength? I am very serious. Please convince me that I am wrong in terms of strategy. The only tenable argument I can think of is that the sectarian, libertarian Paul might win the general election and sweep 60 libertarian Senators into power, a possiblility I find to be highly improbable. Am I wrong to say that we are looking at a rare and epic opportunity in electoral politics for real change toward a peaceful, green and democratic direction? Am I wrong to think not taking advantage of this opportunity will be seen as an epic fail of immense proportions? I know that I am an unembedded, nobody amateur, but I would like one other good reason why this is not a strategy being talked about throughout progressive media and blogosphere.

I apologize in advance if this sounds overly critical of you personally. I am trying to engage someone besides an opportunistic or naive libertarian in an honest discussion of this strategy. You personally are not at fault for what I see as a inside the box mutual political suicide pact made by those who have the most influence over the progressive agenda and strategy. I love Obama. I loved his "More Perfect Union" speech. I felt at ease with his moderately liberal platform but he has been outmaneuvered by a party hell bent on his destruction, and the economy is not going to make a comeback without massive stimulus, something that will not happen before November unless we go to war in Iran. I wish I could vote for him again and truly believe that real change was going to happen this time around. Something radical has to be done. Am I wrong? Somebody tell me why and how and what the alternative strategy is to get done what needs to be done.

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Cornelius
Joined:
Jan. 21, 2011 6:28 am

There's a 1 in 20 Chance of the Apocalypse. Shouldn't We Act Now?

A new study published in Science argues that we as a civilization need to move "rapidly" -- as in almost immediately -- towards a carbon emissions free future if we are to have any chance of holding off runaway global warming:

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