Libertarian Ramblings

Posts Tagged ‘Ron Paul’

Consistent ideology

Posted by gravisman on November 27, 2008

One of my greatest complaints against contemporary American politicians is that they lack consistent and coherent ideology. Political campaigns, to me, are largely irrelevant because they focus on people and issues – they never focus on ideology.

Observers frequently complain about rampant mudslinging and cry out that campaigns should focus on “the issues.” A point that is never heard, and that I would like point to make, is that “the issues” are hardly the issue at all. US senators are elected to six year terms, and presidents to four years. Despite this, their campaigns typically focus on issues that will only affect their first year in office. The reason we’re stuck in this situation is because many of our politicians and most of our political campaigns fail to even speak of ideology.

Ideology is about abstract ideas. Ideology is about ways of thinking. Sure, it’s much easier for voters to grab onto concrete issues and form opinions about them, but in doing so, they sell themselves short. I, as a voter, don’t care just about whether I agree with my representatives on issues that are in the lime light today. I care also about whether we agree on unforeseen issues that have yet to even arise.

I believe that force should only be used in self-defense and that force in any form is not an acceptable means to political ends. This very simple belief affects my opinion on a myriad of issues from foreign policy to domestic health care. It is many times more useful to me to know whether a representative shares this belief than to know how they feel about the Iraq war. I don’t want to only know that my leaders are opposed to the misguided war we fight today; I want to know that they will stand against the stirrings of another superfluous fight that may come two or three years from now.

I was inspired to write this post to commend Congressman Ron Paul for his legendary ideological consistency. What refreshes me the most is that even though I agree with Dr. Paul on nearly every issue, on the one major issue where we disagree, he remains stunningly true to his philosophies and resists the temptation to be politically over-aggressive.

The issue to which I refer is abortion. When I first learned of Ron Paul’s staunch Pro-Life beliefs about a year and a half ago, I was crushed because I thought it was a deal-breaker since I may be the most hard-core Pro-Choice supporter in the country.

I was reminded of what makes Dr. Paul great recently as I read his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto and he expresses that despite his deep opposition to abortions, he believes the government in Washington should have nothing to do with the issue, because he is a Constitutionalist. That’s amazing. The ability to stick strongly to an ideological belief, such as the Constitution, even in the face of an issue that holds strong emotional significance is exactly what we need from our leaders. What makes this great is that we know exactly what to expect from Ron Paul. We know that no matter what happens, he will stand on the side of the Constitution, and so all we need to do is read it to predict how he will vote.

With so many of our other so-called leaders, guessing how they will react to an issue that hasn’t yet reached public consciousness is a crap shoot. Those things are generally determined by combinations of political expediency, party politics, and the winds of public opinion at the time. Look at G. W. Bush, if you need an example, a man who campaigned on humble foreign policy and has lead huge military efforts into the Middle East. Long story short – we have no idea what most of the people in power will do until they actually do it. That’s a very dangerous way to live.

Posted in philosophy, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Taxes aren’t the issue

Posted by gravisman on November 24, 2008

NBC on Obama-nomics

In the above link, NBC talks about Obama’s plans to revive the economy, and most of the article focuses on taxes. What taxes may or may not be increased or decreased and when. The reality that the American people need to realize is that traditional taxes are essentially a red herring when it comes to government economic management.

So, here’s the big secret, if you haven’t heard it yet: the government doesn’t need to collect taxes to finance its expenses! The reality is that the government can fund every expense it wants through inflation. That is, it prints money via the Fed. If the government needs money to pay for something, it has the power to create that money. This is already widely practiced today.

The problem is that every time the government creates new money, it makes every other dollar in existence worth a little less. It’s exactly as though someone started printing Mickey Mantle rookie cards. There worth a lot now, but as soon as everyone has them, they’re not worth much. 

Because of this we can essentially classify inflation as a tax. What makes it really bad is that inflation affects every single person without mercy, because it devalues all our money, rich and poor alike. Even Fed Chairman Bernanke agrees that inflation is a tax.

So, the bottom line is that traditional taxes are really not the issue, and they distract people from what is the real issue: spending. No matter what the government does with taxes, they will find a way to finance their expenses. Lowering taxes just makes people feel better. We keep them at a high enough rate that people believe the distraction that they really are what’s important. Unless the government wishes to sink further into debt and inflate the dollar even more, there’s only one response: cut spending.

UPDATE: So, I just came across page 142 of Ron Paul’s book, The Revolution, where he explains inflation by comparing it to Mickey Mantle baseball cards. I can assure you that I wrote this post before reading Ron Paul’s words, so hopefully nobody accuses me of plagiarism. In any case, all respect for Dr. Paul.

Posted in Links, Politics, Rants, Videos | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Intervention is the problem – not the solution

Posted by gravisman on September 18, 2008

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Real Change 2

Posted by gravisman on June 12, 2008

Campaign for Liberty

The above website is the web headquarters for Dr. Paul’s great new effort: Campaign for Liberty. I have long believed that change is something that must be enacted over time, moving society section by section to a long-term goal. It is not possible to change things overnight.

Before I learned about Ron Paul and his revolution I felt that even long term change was out of reach because it seemed that I was so alone. I now see that not only is there a large contingent of people in this country who believe in liberty as I do, but we are growing! As a member of the 20-something crowd among whom this revolution is particularly popular, I see our ideas as the thing of the future. As we grow in age and in numbers I am confident we will become more and more a force to be reckoned with in American politics.

The Campaign for Liberty is just the beginning – we will be heard!

Posted in Campaign for Liberty | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Real Change

Posted by gravisman on June 12, 2008

I applaud Mr. Ron Paul in this video for hitting on the fundamental issues that need to be addressed to effect real positive change in our political environment.

It is important that we remember to take a step back from things and look at our situations as a whole. Many politicians talk and talk the rhetoric of “change” but we must learn to recognize the context. The context is often setup to narrow our thoughts to relatively trivial details of policy implementation. In doing this, they trick us into forgetting about larger, more fundamental issues as we implicitly take them for granted. These are issues like electoral systems (discussed in previous post), fiscal and monetary institutions, and the role of the US in the world.

We should remember that the way things are now is a result of decisions made over time by people who are plenty capable of making mistakes. These are some things to think about when we think about what “change” really means.

Posted in Videos | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »