Decisions: I’m supporting Ron Paul

tl:dr: I’m supporting Ron Paul. He actually knows enough to hold and argue positions, something sorely lacking from the political field.

I’ve been overwhelmingly busy with trying to start an open-source focused IT company with literally zero financing (yeah, “fat chance” right?) so haven’t had much time to pay to elections lately.

Anyone familiar with my thoughts on geopolitics, economics and political philosophy can probably guess that I perceive a significant separation between the way that establishment political parties portray themselves and the actual policies they adhere to, the way people think and the available menu of parties to choose from, and the way Americanism as a political philosophy is taught through history and the way the situation stands today.

For those who aren’t familiar with my thoughts, or aren’t able to infer just where I believe these political divides to be, you can simply read them directly. Two or three years ago I laid out how the American political landscape is removed from the current menu provided by establishment politics. The basic problem is one of uncomfortable couplings of incompatible principles.

These weird couplings lead to incoherent policies, inventive ways to sell such incompatibilities in elections and then even more inventive ways for supporters of this or that politician to justify just why they favor this or that candidate, having been robbed of any logical foundation for decision.

The mental and even emotional agility required to follow, say, Mitt Romney’s (just to pick someone who is current and known) statements on just about anything tire me, and I’ve got a company to try to establish. And I’m not even in the US right now (Japan, currently).

A close friend of mine from my Special Forces days (which I may be returning to soon in the event my company fails… wahahaha!) met with me the other day and asked me what I thought of Ron Paul. I hadn’t heard of him, so I did what everyone does and asked the internet about it.

It turns out that while the media consciously tries to avoid Ron Paul, he’s all over the internet. Actually, looking at poll numbers, it is amazing he doesn’t get more media time, until you consider what he talks about. (The link is fascinating if you consider that it has been subtitled in German, and contemplate the way a German may interpret this story.)

The man is too correct and too sincere. He is also far too consistent to even sound like a candidate. I found myself disagreeing with him on two areas, but not at all on principles. So implementation arguments I might have with the guy, but all the big stuff I believe him to be dead right about. So I’m endorsing him and I will vote for him if he winds up on the ballot.

Where do I disagree?

Hard VS Soft currency

I subscribe to soft currency Chicago/Friedmanist style economics, Ron Paul is an Austrianist who believes in removing the Federal Reserve completely and returning to the gold standard. I believe the gold standard to be literally impossible to properly implement across the board, and since gold is a major economic commodity today I don’t find it reasonable to base a currency on it. From a practical perspective I don’t see the sense in taking it out of the ground in California at incredible expense only to put it back in the ground in New York or Kentucky. Or London or Tokyo for that matter. People need to trade, so they will trade. A soft currency provides a vehicle through which a farmer can trade cows for soccerballs without having to chop the cow into tiny pieces to buy a single soccer ball. Its a representative wealth vehicle. But it can be mismanaged. Bad management of fiscal policy, whether soft or hard, or even improper regulation of a derivative or certificate market system, can accelerate a boom-bust cycle which I perceive as somewhat inevitable, but exacerbated by mismanagement of policy (and absolutely, unsurvivably catastrophic when linked by society-wide regulatory systems like socialism or fascism).

The problem I see is that hard currencies can be just as easily mismanaged by government as soft currencies, and there is simply no silver bullet (no pun intended) to that situation other than simply removing government from the economic equation as much as possible — and this is the lynchpin of both my ideas and Ron Paul’s. Hard currencies have been abused throughout the ages, and soft currencies have as well. So I see hard VS soft as an issue of practicality and nothing more. I can argue convincingly that abuse of the system — whatever system that is — by government interference is the core problem and that must be the focus even more than any focus on a specific method of wealth conveyance.

Isolationism VS Non-Interventionism

Ron Paul is not an isolationist. He says so himself and he clearly doesn’t believe in that by its purest definition. I don’t believe in isolationism, either. I do believe in a slightly higher level of intervention and martial preparation than he may, however. In particular, he hasn’t had a chance to fully explain his position on recalling all foreign military bases, or even whether that’s what he really means. I don’t think a 100% elemination of all US bases from overseas is wise, specifically with regard to maintaining a global naval capacity. Maintaining a truly open maritime trade environment is what I’m really concerned about, not whether or not we continue to keep forward deployed American armor units in Germany, Poland or Turkey. There are other ways to maintain forward readiness that are cheaper and perhaps more responsible than what we’re doing today, and from a strict security-only perspective a strong navy is the only really critical part of our strategic posture (and I’m an ex-Army Green Beret saying that, not an ex-Navy whatever). When we go beyond that we start getting into really fuzzy discussions (“Well, if this one base in Japan is too important to do away with, why aren’t bases X, Y, and Z in Korea, Germany and England?” &tc.).

Having spent a lot of time in Congress and having heard deep national strategy discussions from time to time, I suspect Dr. Paul probably thinks the same things I do about foreign policy and simply doesn’t have time to get into it during political debates in campaign season. The fact that he could argue reason based on a studied position on these issues, however, defines a significant separation between him and the rest of the politicians from all parties — and that is what scares me a bit.

And that brings me to why the media is shutting him out — including the people who should love this guy at first look: Fox News. The problem with Ron Paul is that he’s really frightening to the establishment. Any establishment. Once an establishment gets large enough it magically gets in bed with government in America, and that is more representative of the fact that we don’t quite really have capitalism in America; not nearly how it was intended to work anyway. The amount of money that is wrapped up in ties to government is only increasing, and that means that large establishments tend to be more reliant on government as time passes, which means that any and all large establishments, whether politically Right or Left (which I don’t believe to be accurate labels any longer) are threatened by ideas like Ron Paul’s. When you hear “the budget went up” it went somewhere, usually to contracted arrangements to federal employee budgets, most of which are not specifically authorized by the Constitution.

Dr. Paul is right about nearly everything I’ve heard him speak on, and the other candidates aren’t really saying much of anything. Its almost like George Friedman, Milton Friedman (no relation), and Ayn Rand got together to run for President — but its just one guy.

If you haven’t made the time to pay attention to the elections because they “just don’t matter” (which is the attitude I was taking until last week) please look Ron Paul up. Listen to some of the things he has to say and the things he has written over the last several decades in office. He knows what he’s talking about and hasn’t changed his story since he was initially elected 12 terms ago. That’s truly amazing in politics in any era.

If my friend happens to read this, I suppose he’ll know what I wound up thinking about Ron Paul.

2 thoughts on “Decisions: I’m supporting Ron Paul

  1. Egor

    Bento, I would have an evolution-denying Ron Paul brfeoe any of the other Republican candidates. And as a Spinozist he is still without equal, I am afraid. Just a lot more doctrinaire than you or I would be. What in particular do you object to (pretend you never noticed his evolution remarks) with Dr Paul? How exactly is he similar to Ross Perot and is that bad?Mike B is simply not running, so forget about it. However, McCain seems to have ended his faustian pact with the religious whack-jobs, and I find myself drawn more and more to him as I realise the full extent of the Coyote morning I have got myself into with Rom Paul.Verc, nice try but Dr Ron’s denial of evolution coupled with his remarks about how he thinks The Creator should have done things (see the link) does not make me think he has made the leaps in the articles you link to.wcw, I am curious, how is Ron Paul racist? The US constitution I always thought of as a very universalist document, and as far as I can see a lot of his more controversial positions are based on an (entertainingly whacko) fundamentalist reading of that.

  2. zxq9 Post author

    You are mixing politics and religion here. Ron Paul makes personal religious statements but absolutely rejects the concept of religion influencing political decision making, which I view as the proper way to go about things. I am not a creationist — but support of Ron Paul is a political decision, not a religious one, and there is no conflict here. A spinozist interpretation of reality also doesn’t have to conflict or enter into politics — the man isn’t being asked to run FermiLab, he’s being asked to take the executive branch of US government.

    Paul does have a fundamentalist view of the Constitution. It is a document which consists of nothing but the fundamentals, and so this is a self-consistent way to interpret it. That it is a short document which grants a very limited set of powers to central government indicates that the Founders intended for central government to not do much but provide for collective defense, protect contracts and trust (as in create an environment where gainful business activity is more beneficial than criminal behavior and guarantee that profitable business is not regarded as a crime itself), and provide courts so individuals can settle disputes short of combat. There is nothing in there even about providing for a national police force, much less redistributing wealth through social programs. All other powers are reserved for states (in other words, the state level is the correct place to explore social experimentation. And the quite accurate complaint “But there’s no way the states have the resources to provide welfare programs!” ends the feasibility debate right there, or at least make people wonder how a central government composed of nothing but the exact same states is supposed to afford the same thing over the long term.).

    Other interpretations for central government quickly lead to inconsistent policies, which is what we’re seeing happen today, particularly with the fundamental change to the relationship between the individual and the State via the recent healthcare bill. Paul does not even entertain conversations about what “society” owes us when discussing government, because he does not define “society” as government. Getting the terms “society”, “community” and “government” confused leads to stupid places very quickly, and we’re all over that in the West right now.

    Consider the phrase “A community should look out for its members.” Everyone agrees with that. Change it subtly to “Society should take care of those less fortunate.” Not many people would disagree with that outright. Not even me. But when you change that to actually mean “Government should forcibly take resources from successful members of society and redistribute them to the unsuccessful members, at a necessary inefficiency inherent to all large organizations” we’re talking about something totally different. That’s exactly what all government social programs mean — and this is not just wrong because it is unfair to those who work hard, but it is dangerous to the nation over the long term in ways that are un-fixable.

    This is why I support Ron Paul. Religion doesn’t have anything to do with it.


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