Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Meaning of Ron Paul

I recently received an e mail from an acquaintance of mine, Jim, a corporate lawyer of comfortable means, who owns a split-level suburban home, an SUV, has a devoted wife and children, and a dog and a cat.

Jim is a registered Republican and a Ron Paul supporter, since he likes Ron's libertarianism, which advocates shrinking of the size of government to the bare minimum, so that it gets off the backs of Americans, who will once again be free to live their lives exactly as they see fit.

Jim, whose office is downtown in a large city - the name of which is irrelevant for the purposes of this posting - was recently eating lunch in a food-fair, when he was approached by an unkempt unshaven unwashed, and obviously homeless man, who asked him for spare change. Jim gave him fifty cents, and the beggar moved on to another table.

Jim, in his message to me, wondered what should be done about the increasing numbers of homeless beggars of the kind who he gave the fifty cents to.

I replied as follows:

Hi Jim - That homeless man has more freedom than you have, since he doesn't have to get up at 5.30 am every morning to go to work in the dark, and then have to work all day, and only return home again fourteen hours later, again in the dark.

And he lives in less fear than you, because he doesn't have to worry that he'll lose his big suburban house, or lose his SUV, if he gets fired, or his firm goes bankrupt. The bridge he sleeps under at night, will always be there for him to sleep under, come rain or come shine. And he never has to go through the worry of finding spaces in town to park his SUV, because he wouldn't own one. So he's much freer than you to do what he likes.

I'll remind you of what Kris Kristofferson once said, that "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose".

But should you meet this homeless man again, and he complains to you about how poor he is, remind him of how much freer he is than you, and that being as free as he is, he would make Ron Paul proud, for Ron Paul - who would get rid of the Income Tax, the Department of Education, and the Federal Reserve - wants to make Americans as free as they were when the Pilgrim Fathers first landed at Plymouth Rock in 1608.

And you should furthermore tell this man that his plight has come about because the Federal government won't implement the economic policies of Ron Paul. This unfortunate man no doubt doesn't have a job because his potential employers can't afford to pay him the mandatory minimum wage, which Ron Paul would abolish. And he may not have been able to save any money by which, perhaps, to start up his own business, because his savings were eaten up by all the Income Tax he had to pay - the Income Tax which Ron Paul would also abolish.

Point out to him what Ron Paul has said about the Income Tax, that it takes billions of dollars out of the private sector, with many people giving as much as a third of what they earn to the Federal government, which inhibits job growth and penalizes productive behavior. Also, there are unnecessary privacy violations, and power gets consolidated at the federal level. Americans got along just fine without a federal income tax for its first 126 years, with the government raising revenues through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes. If Americans got along fine without the Income Tax then, why shouldn't they get along fine without it now?

If this man still isn't convinced, tell him about the Austrian School of economic thought - which so influenced Ron Paul - which says that economics is grounded in human action, that is, in the creative choices made by various individuals cooperating together under the division of labor. The tendency is to view government interference in this process of creative choice as counterproductive, and there’s an emphasis on entrepreneurship as the driving force in economic development.

Ron Paul, who recognizes that this is a huge topic, recommends several books to people, if they’re interested: "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat," Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt, "What has the Government done with our Money?" by Murray Rothbard, and "The Road to Serfdom" by Friedrich Hayek, to name a few. Also the writings of Ludwig von Mises, particularly the work he did with Friedrich Hayek on what’s known as the “Austrian business cycle theory.”

So, suggest to this man that he go to his nearest public library, and take out these books to read whenever he's enjoying the succour of the bridge which he sleeps under at night. Only when he has read them, will he more completely understand how much his chances of economically advancing himself were thwarted, because the Federal governments, for as far back as we can remember, didn't follow the free market policies of Ron Paul and the Austrian economic thinkers.

I hope we can meet up for golf soon.


And Now For Something Completely Different: