Today the modern liberty movement’s godfather turns a healthy 78. Of course he is in good health, though. Dr. Paul is lucky enough that he can actually afford the wonderful free market healthcare in the U.S., unlike the mass of uninsured Americans who he has worked so hard to keep that way. The Texas congressman has just recently retired from his public service but continues to wow and inspire thousands of angsty teenage boys who want to rebel against authority by giving speeches across the country at various college campuses.
Of all the government hating leaders of the 20th and 21st century, Ron Paul is arguably responsible for converting the most people to a political philosophy called libertarianism. This ideology, known for its strong belief that the free market can do anything and that poor people should die if they can’t afford healthcare, has become the new trend on the internet in the last few years. The former gynecologist unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, 2008, and 2012. Following his last miserable defeat at the hands of more compassionate and realistic candidates, like Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Dr. Paul finally called it quits on public office.
Since his 2008 run, the libertarian leader has caused a stirring in political circles across the country, especially among young people and college students. It makes sense that the youngest, least-experienced of us are supporting libertarianism. With his talks of gold, the military-industrial complex, privacy, freedom, the non-aggression principle, or NAP, and something called Australian economics, Paul has influenced millions of youngsters who, in turn, went to the internet and did their own research into older libertarian leaders and ideas. People like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, and Ayn Rand are more popular now than when they were actually writing things. But one cannot ignore the unbelievable naivety, impracticalness, and utopian ideas that characterize these people and their ideas.
Mises argued against socialism in the early 20th century because he thought that state ownership of the means of production, and therefore the subsequent elimination of prices, would make it impossible for “rational economic calculation.” But today we know this is hogwash because without prices everything would be free! Rothbard was an anarchist crackpot who worked hard to prove the free market could solve every problem we have and that government was immoral because it violated the “non-aggression principle”. Of course in his writing he never even addressed common problems that no free marketers could answer, like who would build the roads without government? Hayek is best known for his “knowledge problem,” which said central planning was inefficient because those in power could not possibly know the best way to run an economy given their limited knowledge. With over half a century of experience we know this to be completely false just by looking at the healthy economies of the United States and Europe. Rand deserves little attention since her philosophy, objectivism, was nothing but a poorly thought out excuse to keep taxes low on the rich and screw the working poor. Looking at some of Ron Paul’s biggest influences it’s no wonder why many people view him and his philosophy as an unrealistic and immoral pipe dream.
Ron Paul is very well known for his anti-Federal Reserve views and support of a gold standard, which basically means people will be carrying around huge gold bars in their pockets instead of easy to use paper dollars. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of America and has complete control of the monetary system. Its board of directors is unelected, but instead appointed by regional banks and the Board of Governors. With little accountability and a lot of secrecy the board can actually get things done. One of the main tools the Reserve uses to influence the economy is the buying of bonds. During this process it prints more money. How on Earth does Paul think this a bad thing? It’s literally free money! Right out of thin air! With the Federal Reserve System having been in place for 100 years now, it’s strange why Paul is against it. It is so obviously clear what a massive success it has been. In fact since its founding the American dollar has lost only 97% of its value and we have endured just three depressions (20-21, 29-33, 08-09), the stagflation of the late 70s, a stock market bubble, a tech bubble, a housing bubble, and continual other business cycle fluctuations. Seems like a rock solid record to me but of course since the Federal Reserve doesn’t benefit Paul and his rich buddies, he wants it abolished.
The former libertarian party presidential candidate also holds very isolationist foreign policy views. In fact Paul supports, in additions to the large number of other departments, abolishing the department of defense….I think. Anyways Paul is also against necessary and vital security measures like the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, on grounds that they infringe on Americans’ right to privacy (of course it isn’t a violation of privacy to prevent a woman from doing what she wants with her own reproductive system). Without the government spying on Americans how can we be safe? By pulling out of all foreign countries and abolishing these programs Al-Qaeda would be running the country! The former congressman clearly wants the terrorists to win.
Looking at Paul’s policy prescriptions I begin to question the IQ of the average Texas 22nd congressional district voter. Were the Paul-ites and libertarianism to get an actual foothold on American politics, the rich would have to buy new belts because their pants will be weighted down with gold bars! The corporations will control our daily lives, children will be working in the mines, people will die of lack of healthcare, and Al-Qaeda will run our daily lives! People would be starving in the roads, and there won’t be any roads! Slavery would probably make a return as well.
Ron Paul was influential for a short time but I predict the libertarian movement will run its course after a few years. Do these young people really feel that strongly about freedom and liberty? Will they be willing to fight for these things without their main man in the political sphere? I doubt it.