About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

THE TOP FIVE (Recent News Items You May Have Missed)

In chronological order...

Item#1 -- 12/26/2011, From Right Wing News: [Official] Statement from fmr. Ron Paul staffer [Ed Dondero] on Newsletters, Anti-Semitism
Money Quotes:
Is Ron Paul a “racist.” In short, No... ...Is Ron Paul an Anti-Semite? Absolutely No... ...Is Ron Paul a homo-phobe? Well, yes and no. He is not [at] all bigoted towards homosexuals...Again, let me stress. I would not categorize that as “homo-phobic,” but rather just unsettled by being around gays personally... ...Lew Rockwell and Burton Blumert were there too. We were greatly surprised by this. Nadia was eventually convicted of embezzlement and went to jail for 6 months, plus had to pay $140,000 in restitution to Ron...There were rumors at the time, and long thereafter, that Lew and Burt had pinned it all on Nadia, and that they had their own reasons for the “coup.” For years afterwards, Rockwell, and Blumert had complete control of Ron’s enterprises through Jean McIver and (former JBS/Jesse Helms fundraiser) David “James” Mertz of northern Virginia... ...Ron was “under the spell” of left-anarchist and Lew Rockwell associate Joe Becker at the time [immediately after 9/11/2001], who was our legislative director. Norm Singleton, another Lew Rockwell fanatic agreed with Joe.
Dondero continues, saying Paul is "Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general." Then, he describes a sentiment that many US Presidents have probably uttered in frustration -- and in PRIVATE! -- to stunned subordinates:
He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.
Item#2 -- 12/28/2011, From Libertarian Republican: It's now official: Gary Johnson to leave the GOP for the LP 
Who knows what this means. It might persuade Ron Paul not to leave the GOP if he fails to win the nomination. Bad for Obama. It might entice him to join Johnson on the Libertarian Party ticket. Good for Obama. 

Item#3 -- 12/28/2011, From Stop The Leftist Propaganda Machine: Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Marsha Blackburn and several other Republicans co-sponsor SOPA bill with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
I don't quite understand why Marco Rubio would do this. Wikipedia has this to say about SOPA:
Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws especially against foreign websites.[5] Opponents say that it infringes on First Amendment rights, is Internet censorship,[6] will cripple the Internet,[7] and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech.[8]
I haven't researched SOPA, but I should and will. Two gut-reactions? First, SOPA seeks to "regulate" the internet. Big mistake. I like the internet the way it is. Second, anything with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz' name on it cannot be good for anyone interesting in preserving property, freedom and peace.

Item#4 -- 12/29/2011, From Stop The Leftist Propaganda Machine: The problem with today’s Republican party – 55 percent view “progressive” as positive
Reforming the Republican Party from within will be no mean trick. Then again, 76% and 68% of Democrats and Independents respectively view "progressive" as positive. Pick your poison.

Item#5 -- 12/30/2011, From Daily Paul: Republican Liberty Caucus Endorses Ron Paul for President !
Renewed hope for anyone interested in bringing the Republican Party back to its roots.

Item#5 -- 12/31/2011, From Libertarian Republican: Bachmann plays the Drug Legalization card against Ron Paul
Bachmann has always impressed me as someone more interested in getting elected than in doing the right thing. This development brands her as either uninformed or deeply pragmatic. 

Item#5 -- 12/31/2011, From Daily Paul: HUGE: ANOTHER Mossad Chief Agrees With Ron Paul: Nuclear Armed Iran NOT Inevitably A Threat to Israel
For what it's worth.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul And Anarchism: Conclusion

In the first post of this series I discussed the anarchist/minarchist divide in libertarianism. In the second post I made my argument that Ron Paul is a voluntarist (or at the very least a minarchist on the anarchist fringe). In my third post I discussed Lew Rockwell and his counter-productive, anarcho-capitalist influence on Ron Paul's campaign. In this post I will explain why I am voting for Ron Paul despite these anarchist tendencies and influences. My explanation will be short and sweet.

People who oppose Ron Paul  fall into one of several categories:
  1. Money Grubbers -- These people are apolitical or military or Washington insiders of virtually all political stripes and parties. What unites them is their dependency on big government for their pot of gold. They work in government as bureaucrats, politicians and staff. They work for government as contractors or consultants. They work through government as lobbyists or academic grant-seekers and subsidy receivers. They work by the grace of government as toadies and cronies who enjoy government largesse.  They are extremely happy with the status quo and, if they think at all about Ron Paul, they scratch their heads and wonder why anyone would choose not to ride on the gravy train too.
  2. Snobs -- These people have a category all their own because they are mainly in the political game for status and power. Some may double as Money Grubbers, but would never, ever see themselves so. These people feel lording over others is their birthright. They feel they deserve power because they've earned it through a costly education at Harvard or Yale and through generations of blue-blood breeding. They've probably never heard of Ron Paul and, if they do, they turn up their noses or snicker.
  3. Crusaders -- Commonly known as the religious right, these people rule their lives by their religious beliefs and they want to rule other people's lives by those same beliefs. Some agree with Ron Paul's economic agenda, but they consider his laissez faire attitude to personal liberty as evil and licentious. They think Ron Paul's foreign policy is the work of the devil.
  4. Saber Rattlers -- These people agree with many of Ron Paul's economic proposals. The detest big government except for the military. Not only do they want the US to be second to none militarily, they want the military to project US power to end disputes throughout the world. They see foreign relations as a continuous war and they don't want the US to lose it. They're often mercantilists who see trade as a continuous war, and they don't want the US to lose that battle either. They think that at worst Ron Paul is anti-American and at best he is an isolationist whose policies would allow this country to be overrun by hoards of Islamist fundamentalists, Euro terrorists, Chinese peasant capitalists and God knows what else.
  5. Poll Watchers -- These people oppose anyone they don't think can win enough votes to be elected to the Presidency. They think Ron Paul is a loser.
  6. Loyal Democrats -- No explanation needed.
  7. All-in Anarchists -- These people are not only against government, they are against anyone who participates in the process of government, which includes voting. They regard Ron Paul as naive because he thinks the system can be changed from within. They advise simply dropping out.
People who support Ron Paul fall into these categories:
  1. Stupid Racists, Homophobes and Anti-Semites -- These are people like David Duke who actually believe Ron Paul is a racist, homophobic anti-Semite, groundless slurs propagated by the main stream press and Ron Paul baiters.
  2. Anarcho-capitalist and Voluntarist Libertarians -- These people are willing to participate in politics if it means one of their own could get elected to lead the process of dismantling government.
  3. Pacifists -- These people are single issue voters and their single issue is pacifism. They mistakenly interpret Ron Paul's foreign policy as pacifism.
  4. Shock Troopers -- These people are patriotic, liberty-loving Libertarians, Republicans and Democrats (yes, there actually might be one or two!) who want to see profound change for the better in this country sooner rather than later. A great deal of these people consider themselves members of the Tea Party. They believe fervently that the United States is on the verge of social and economic collapse. They see our economic and personal freedoms being taken away from us by the proliferation of progressivism in our culture and in our governments (federal, state and local). They believe the only cure is an immediate and potent shock to the root system of the power elite. Some agree completely with Ron Paul's political philosophy and recommended policies. Some have major disagreements with one or two of his policies but feel the need for the shock treatment outweighs their disagreements. They know that, if by some miracle Ron Paul is elected and allowed by the power elite to serve, that -- contrary to mainstream opinion -- the sky will not fall on America or the world. They know Ron Paul loves the principles upon which our founders built this country. They know he will abide by the Constitution he has faithfully and literally served and defended in Congress, and that he will do what is required to defend this great nation from actual foreign attack. But these people know more than anything else that if the entrenched ruling elite is going to be defeated, the man leading the charge must not be and must not have been a member of that ruling elite. He must not be wishy-washy or tentative or palsy-walsy with Wall Street and its cronies. His must not have the faux courage the comes with pragmatic opportunism or political advantage. He must have the true, steely-eyed courage that comes from within, from principles etched in his heart by a lifetime of believing in property, freedom and peace. He must be a Doctor No!
I am a Shock Trooper and proud of it.

Vote for Ron Paul!

Ron Paul And Anarchism, PART III

I have a simple question for all honest and discriminating readers:
Who wrote and published the following paragraph on June 15, 2000?
But for a true American individualist, most don't pass the test. Labor Day is out. Don't you hate those NPR tributes to union thugs? So is Memorial Day, which celebrates a Union victory over the seceding South. So is Veterans Day, increasingly a propaganda parade on behalf of a federal bureaucracy. And there are plenty of others not worth even noticing including Presidents Day (I'm anti-president) and MLK Day (a "hate whitey" day, in the parlance of David Horowitz). [emphasis added]
The answer is: the same person who wrote and published this on April 13, 2000:
In contrast, the framers envisioned a society protected by state-level militias. The national defense would be put together only when U.S. soil was directly threatened, and the expenses would be a drop in the bucket... ...If the U.S. had a constitutional system of defense today, we would start with a 90 percent cut in the budget and go from there. Trust no man who says he favors the Constitution and also advocates current levels of spending, much less any new military spending. If we care about the future of American liberty, we should advocate putting the U.S. military machine on cinder blocks. [emphasis added]
And the same person who said this in a speech in Washington in 1996:
The presidency must be destroyed. It is the primary evil we face, and the cause of nearly all our woes. [emphasis added]
And the same person who wrote and published this on March 6, 2008:
I can see only one possible justification for having a president of the United States: to preside over the dismantling of the federal government.
And the same person who wrote and published this on August 29, 2008:
What is the alternative? It is pure liberty, a word that is used only as a slogan in public affairs these days. By liberty, I mean only one kind: a life without badgering from the state. There is nothing on God's green earth that the state can do better than we can as individuals and communities and voluntary associations. What I mean by liberty is no more or less than firing the state as the administrator of society. [emphasis added]
And the same man who wrote and published this on September 27, 2011:
However, in the end, what is really needed is a fundamental rethinking of the notion that the state rather than private markets must monopolize the provision of justice and security. This is the fatal conceit. No power granted to the state goes un-abused. This power, among all possible powers, might be the most important one to take away from the state.
And this on December 31, 2008:
Why would any society permit such a gang [government] to enjoy an unchallenged legal privilege? Here is where ideology comes into play. The reality of the state is that it is a looting and killing machine. So why do so many people cheer for its expansion? Indeed, why do we tolerate its existence at all?
And, finally, this on September 15, 2001, four days after the terrorist destruction of the Twin Towers:
It was the US foreign policy of unyielding empire that incited these attacks in the first place. It's hard to say when the turning point was. It might have been 1990, when the US gave tacit approval to Iraq to invade Kuwait and then bombed Iraq back into the stone age for doing so. It might have been the war on Serbia, or the bombs in Sudan, or the destruction of the Chinese embassy, or any number of other foreign adventures. [emphasis added]
If you listen to mainstream media, these quotes sound like something Ron Paul has written! But no. The man who wrote and published and said these things is Lew Rockwell, Paul's longtime friend and political adviser. The man who, reportedly, wrote and edited the infamous Ron Paul newsletters of 25 years ago. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Rockwell's relationship with Paul and his newsletters:
Rockwell served as Ron Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982.[4][5] He has maintained a working relationship with Paul over the years, as a contributing editor to "The Ron Paul Investment Letter";[6] as a consultant to Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party campaign for President of the United States;[7] and as vice-chair of the exploratory committee for Paul's spirited run for the 1992 Republican Party nomination for president.[8]

In 2008, libertarian publication Reason published stories discussing several racially charged articles that appeared in Ron Paul newsletters c. 1989-1994. One Reason piece asserted that "a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists—including some still close to Paul" had identified Rockwell as the "chief ghostwriter" of the newsletters. According to Reason, Rockwell denied responsibility for the disputed material and called the accusations "hysterical smears aimed at political enemies."[9] The issue arose again during the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign with publications like the The Atlantic and the New York Times detailing Rockwell's possible involvement.[10][11]
Llewellyn Harrison "Lew" Rockwell, Jr. is the Chairman of the Board of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which he founded in 1982. The banner of the Ludwig von Mises Institute is: "Advancing the concept of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School." Rockwell also founded the website called LewRockwell.com. That site describes itself as follows:
The daily news and opinion site LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 by anarcho-capitalists Lew Rockwell [send him mail] and Burt Blumert to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard.
Clearly Lew Rockwell is an unabashed anarchist. He has no use for "government" or the "state" in any way, shape or form. He is not shy in defense of his point of view. He is an iconoclast and, if the quotes above are any indication, he is proud of it.

Now, let me be perfectly clear. I disagree with much of what Lew Rockwell says and writes. I disagree with many of the articles published at LewRockwell.com and at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, mainly as they relate to anarchism and its corollaries. On the other hand, I've visited these sites fairly often. LewRockwell.com is an excellent source of out-of-the-mainstream insights. The Ludwig von Mises Institute is the gold standard of Austrian economic study. I admire Lew Rockwell's work in furthering Austrian economic theory and making the writings of Ludwig von Mises readily available to all who want to read them. I've given the website a plug in the banner of my own blog. However, as I mentioned in my response to a commenter here with regard to my last post, I detest anarchist theory and all it implies, whether free market or otherwise. I believe its premise is flawed and its logic is in error.

If I had to describe my own political philosophy it would be classical liberalism in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises as described by Mises in his book "Liberalism: In The Classic Tradition." (To claim anarcho-capitalism is in the tradition of Mises is a stretch worthy of Plastic Man.) I believe in private property and freedom. Consequently, I believe Lew Rockwell has the right to write and publish whatever he wants in his own, privately-owned outlets. I am not anti-state or anti-war, when "state" and "war" are properly defined and justified. My problem with Rockwell is his close-minded prostylization of a theoretical contradiction: anarcho-capitalism.

Here is Rockwell being interviewed by an obvious, anarchistic sycophant:

About 13 minutes 40 seconds into the video Rockwell says:
We don't have to stick on the present path. We can change things. People have changed things in the past. It's happened before and we better do it this time. ...You know you mention anarchism. When I first started this movement, to be an anarchist was ultra-controversial even within the libertarians. I mean it was considered something dangerous and off-the-wall. ...Today young people are all anarchists. ...The limited government thing which actually has no arguments for it.... [emphasis added]
Obviously, Lew Rockwell is convinced beyond argument that anarchism not only can exist but should exist, and he is convincing others of the same thing. When Rockwell suggests in the video above that "we can change things...and we better do it this time," the young anarchist interviewer sighs: "Yeah, I don't want to live on this planet if we don't do something." Perhaps this is the kind of feedback that convinces Rockwell that anarchism as a practical political philosophy and that it is no longer considered "ultra-controversial" or "off-the-wall." 

Well, this may be true among the young people who frequent LewRockwell.com or maybe even the Ludwig von Mises Institute, but does Rockwell honestly believe it is true in mainstream America? Does he really believe that all young people in America are anarchists? 
Rockwell can believe such things if he wants, but does anyone truly believe his anarchism will pass the smell test in the Republican mainstream? Apparently he does, because he feels no compunction at all about offering advice to Ron Paul and his campaign. 

And so I ask the $64,000 question: What is Lew Rockwell, the avowed anarchist, doing offering political advice to Ron Paul? And, why does Ron Paul care to listen when he is, apparently, already being politically tarred and feathered by Rockwell's off the wall rhetoric?

I don't know who wrote Ron Paul's infamous newsletters. Frankly, if I had to speculate, I would say Paul ran his newsletters the way Rockwell runs his own website. Of LewRockwell.com Wikipedia says:
The website has sometimes provided a forum for fringe and heterodox science; the site has published critics of the 2009 swine flu vaccination and advocates of AIDS denialism.[10] However, the columns are deliberately idiosyncratic and therefore disclaimed as not necessarily representing Rockwell.[2]
Perhaps, Paul's newsletters were merely a dry run for Rockwell's website. I don't know. Does anyone disagree that Rockwell seems the likely author of Paul's "idiosyncratic" newsletter? I have searched but have never found a news article or a video in which Ron Paul is directly quoted as describing Martin Luther King Day as a "'hate whitey' day." Yet, there it is plain as day at the top of this post. Rockwell used these words in 2000 in his own column at his own website. Is it a stretch to believe he wrote them 10 or 15 years earlier in Paul's newsletter?

Honestly, I don't really care who wrote Paul's newsletters. But the mainstream media does. And mainstream American voters do. This is my point!

Words have consequences. In a Presidential campaign words can make a disaster of a candidate's credibility. Why does Paul continue to court disaster?

Paul has said he didn't write his newsletters, but why not simply name the author who did? Surely, he knows who did. If Rockwell wrote Paul's newsletter, why doesn't Rockwell fess up in the interest of furthering Paul's campaign?

Why does all this matter? Because Ron Paul's association with Lew Rockwell has probably already earned him the reputation of being a nut job. Because a continued association risks doing further damage to Paul's campaign. 

For example, I don't know if Ron Paul has ever been asked point blank whether or not he is an anarcho-capitalist, or whether or not he believes in the political and social theory of anarcho-capitalism, or whether or not his ultimate goal in running for President is to completely dismantle the federal government, or to put the US military up on blocks, or to abolish the Presidency, or to privatize the provision of justice and security in this country. 

I don't know if Paul has ever been asked if he believes the US government is actually a looting and killing machine that is capable of doing nothing on God's green earth that can't be done by individuals in voluntary association and, if he does believe the US government is evil by definition, why he is trying so hard to become the head of the US government.

I do not know if Ron Paul has ever been asked these questions, but I would not be surprised if he were asked them sometime before now and the end of his campaign.

In 2008 Barack Obama said he worshiped week after week in the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and that Rev. Wright was a good friend of his. When asked if he was aware of Wright's bombastic "God damn America" sermonizing, which was well out of the mainstream of the middle American experience, Obama lamely answered that he must not have attended church on those particular days. If the mainstream media hadn't covered Obama's butt during that controversy, Obama would have suffered irreparable damage to his campaign.

Does anyone believe the mainstream media has Ron Paul's backside in this campaign? 

On December 27, 2011 the New York Times published an editorial dismissing Ron Paul as a serious candidate. The editorial began:
Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Now, making things worse, he has failed to convincingly repudiate racist remarks that were published under his name for years — or the enthusiastic support he is getting from racist groups.

Mr. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who is doing particularly well in Iowa’s precaucus polls, published several newsletters in the ’80s and ’90s with names like the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Political Report. The newsletters interspersed libertarian political and investment commentary with racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and far-right paranoia...

...Mr. Paul has never given a full and detailed accounting of who wrote the newsletters and what his role was in overseeing their publication. It’s especially important that he do so immediately. Those writings have certainly not been forgotten by white supremacist and militia groups that are promoting his candidacy in Iowa and in New Hampshire.
Lew Rockwell is preaching to us (and is, perhaps, advising Ron Paul) that dismantling the federal government would be a good idea. But the New York Times can't even buy into the idea of cutting foreign aid! Rockwell wants to abolish the Presidency. The New York Times can't handle abolishing the Fed! Rockwell claims the concept of anarchism is no longer considered off the wall or controversial because people know that government is simply a looting and killing machine. Yet, the New York Times considers the tamest and most elementary tenet of Austrian economics -- sound money -- just another "claptrap" proposal! 

Mr. Paul, I can defend your "claptrap." Please don't put me in the position of defending Rockwell's!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ron Paul And Anarchy, PART II

In my last post I described the fissure among "small 'L'" philosophical libertarians, some of whom consider themselves anarchists and others, minarchists. The debate between these two factions has always been intense and heated, and prior to the turn of the century the minarchists clearly, at least in my opinion, had the best of the argument.

The anarchists, known as anarcho-capitalists, were considered radical and impractical dreamers in search of a libertarian nirvana. They were really "out there," relying on the political experience of medieval Iceland to buttress their almost laughable point of view that anarchy once existed and that the free market is able to provide not only the best value in bread but also in law making. Yet, the two sides still communicated. That all changed on September 11, 2001.

After Islamists destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the libertarian debate between anarchists and minarchists seemed over for most, as both sides coalesced around their respective positions. The anarchists became more convinced than ever that statism precipitated the New York attack. Many felt that the US government organized the attack covertly. They thought the time for argument was over. They gradually excluded minarchist argument from the well respected website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The fledgling LewRockwell.com became the gathering place for the anarchist wing of the libertarian movement. LewRockwell, an ardent "anti-state anti-war pro-market" anarchist was the guiding force of both organizations. Moreover, websites which used to foster internecine anarchist/minarchist debate vanished from the web.

For their part, the libertarian minarchists went their own way as well. Many supported George W. Bush's aggressive response to 9/11. Some took positions in think tanks that were free market in their economic orientation, but supported secure US borders (anarchists favor open borders) and a somewhat interventionist US foreign policy. Some founded similarly aligned websites and blogs. The division between anarchists and minarchists had become institutional. If they existed at all, any continuing arguments between the two camps consisted of slurs and ridicule. Why? The fight began to pivot on questions regarding patriotism and genuine libertarianism, subjects that stir the emotions of American libertarians like few others.

One side, the anarchist faction, was convinced allegiance to the policies of George W. Bush was treasonous to the libertarian principle of non-aggression. The other side, the minarchist side, pointed out the nonsense of having open borders and an open immigration policy in a world full of crazed Islamist fundamentalists bent on terrorizing America. Many of these libertarians were even willing to give Bush's Iraq adventure the benefit of the doubt. Anarchists and minarchists alike thought that was nuts and un-libertarian. The fault lines in libertarianism grew wider, deeper and more diverse than ever.

Nowadays, in general, the anarchist libertarians are riding high while the minarchists are silently licking their wounds. Anarchists believe ten years of a tenuous, bloody and almost futile war in Iraq and Afghanistan vindicate their non-interventionist foreign policy philosophy. Moreover, they have simultaneously been able to co-opt the libertarian "free market" agenda as their own.

The fiscal and monetary crisis which occurred at the end of the Bush presidency convinced them more than ever before that government -- the huge bureaucracy, the Federal Reserve, Fannie and Freddie and the like -- is inherently destructive and evil. Of all libertarian and semi-libertarian opinion mills, the Ludwig von Mises Institute and LewRockwell.com were two of the few that steadfastly opposed government bailouts of the economy. Their fervent anti-war and unflinching pro-market positions gradually melded into the anti-state rhetoric which is so popular these days on campuses and on the internet.

Today it is virtually impossible for minarchists to get a word in edgewise much less gain a philosophical foothold. Any attempt to do so is immediately slandered as the hated and mystical neo-conservatism.

This is not to say all is quiet on the Western front among the anarchists. Today most anarcho-capitalists, especially those who have not gone apolitical or anti-political, prefer calling themselves "Voluntaryists." They apparently want to disassociate themselves from the bad connotations of the word anarchism, which tend to conjure up images of freaks tossing Molotov cocktails through department store windows in places like Seattle. Such images are counterproductive to winning hearts and minds in actual, real political campaigning.

My mention of apolitical or anti-political anarcho-capitalists was not accidental. It seems the latest schism in the libertarian faith is the divide between voluntaryists, who seek to establish a libertarian nirvana in the US by means of political action within the system, and fundamentalist anarchists who believe running for political office and even voting is statist aggression. These fundamentalist anarchists, who I will refer to, in the interests of clarity, as the all-in anarchists, are the true problem children of the libertarian anarchist movement. Let me explain.

The crux of the anarchist argument against minarchism is that anarchism is the logical extension of the first principles of libertarianism: first, the famed non-aggression principle; and second, the principle of self-ownership. According to Wikipedia, the non-aggression principle “asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate. Aggression…is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately owned property of another.” Wikipedia says self-ownership “is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life.”

Since almost by definition "government," or the "state," is in the business of coercing individuals to act in a particular way and forcing individuals to forfeit their property to the state by means of taxation, anarchy—the absence of government—is held by its advocates to be most logically consistent with libertarianism. However, one needn’t be a logician to see the contradiction in a voluntaryist, who believes in the absence of government but, at the same time, runs for political office. Voluntaryists rationalize their political action by arguing that one may be active in politics in order to ultimately eliminate the need for politics.

The all-in anarchists are quick to point out that such a position is merely pragmatic and strictly illogical. Ultimately, logic dictates that, if the state is in the business of aggression against person and property, then becoming part of the state through political action is aggression as well. Thus, all-in anarchism is THE ultimate and logical extension of the prime libertarian directives.

This is the kind of esoteric, internecine argument that takes place nowadays on websites like LewRockwell.com and the Ludwig von Mises Institute: Which faction of anarchism is genuinely libertarian? Any mention of minarchism has passed by the wayside.

What does all this have to do with Ron Paul and his run for the Presidency in 2012?


Ron Paul comes from the Voluntaryist wing of libertarian anarchism.

(Believe it or not, Paul’s candidacy is criticized and opposed by doctrinaire all-in anarchists like Stephan Molyneaux. Molyneaux’s archive of articles has apparently been purged by LewRockwell.com which supports Paul’s run for the Presidency.)

I don't think Paul’s status as a voluntaryist anarchist is debatable. It certainly seems like a settled fact among Paul's political supporters.

Consider this video...

Paul may disavow his controversial newsletters of 25 years ago by saying he took a hands-off approach to publishing them, and that he disagrees with the iconoclastic rhetoric and political positions in them, but the fact remains he allowed two aggressive and confirmed voluntaryist anarchists virtual free rein to produce and write the newsletters: Lew Rockwell and Jeffrey Tucker. Now Paul is suffering the political damage that Rockwell, Tucker and anarchist political theory have rained down on him.

Deservedly or not, Paul is being tarred and feathered by the company he kept and continues to keep.

Don't misinterpret what I am saying. Yes, I believe Ron Paul is both emotionally and intellectually a “voluntaryist" anarchist. I believe he participates in politics because he does not want to reform the Washington power structure, but wants to make it completely obsolete. In short, he wants to eliminate government by political means and, thereby, avoid a violent revolution. If Ron Paul is anything, he is committed to non-violence.

I am a minarchist. Yet, I support Ron Paul for President. I support his candidacy not because of his voluntaryist anarchist beliefs, but in spite of them. I’ll try to explain why as I continue this series of posts. First, however, I want to explore the damage being done to Ron Paul’s credibility and to his campaign by the likes of Lew Rockwell and company, along with the outrageous political philosophy of voluntaryism.

More to follow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ron Paul And Anarchy, PART I

In the late 70's and in the 80's I regularly participated in political activities of the "big 'L'" Libertarian Party. I was drawn to the Party by my interest in individualism, personal liberty, capitalism and free markets, cultivated by reading Ayn Rand, Harry Browne and Ludwig von Mises, among many others. I was anxious to put what I was learning into political practice.

My exposure to the "big 'L'" began one day, while ambling through the merchant's building at a state fair, when I noticed a booth manned by members of the Libertarian Party. I had considered myself a "small 'L'" libertarian and decided the organized, "big 'L'" political party might be a perfect fit for my budding political activism. Government was getting altogether too big and too powerful for my tastes. I wanted to do something about it.

That first meeting of the Libertarian Party that I attended was an eye-opener. The Party was barely a party at all. I was one of about thirty attendees, if I remember correctly. The group was a strange mix, about half were dressed as I was, businessman casual. This half was well-mannered and considerate. The other half was a rowdy collection of nerdy-looking hippies left over from the 60's. I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When the meeting started, I quickly learned that the Libertarian Party was divided along a fault line. The business-like half represented individuals who were interested in political action. Most of us had been Republican activists disillusioned by Gerald Ford or Democrats disillusioned with Jimmy Carter, as I was. We were clearly looking to field and support Libertarian political candidates.

Unfortunately, the nerdy half of the Party had no such ambitions. They were far more radical in their libertarianism than I was and their interest was not in gathering votes but in changing minds. They wanted to "educate" the "sheeple," teach working class folks like the members of my family, why gambling, drugs and prostitution should be legalized, and why government in all its incarnations was the source of all societal evil. They were literally wild-eyed anarchists. I knew they had their work cut out for them.

Soon, every issue brought to the floor of the meeting devolved into a loud and angry argument between the anarchists and the minarchists, those libertarians who believed, as I did, in limited government, one which would provide police protection, judiciary services and military services, but little else.

The debate between anarchists and minarchists was irritating, frustrating and, I thought, a huge waste of time and energy. I soon realized that the Libertarian Party was going nowhere either politically or educationally. The fledgling Party had no money, scant organization and no real candidates. Those nominated as candidates were strictly figureheads. If I had wanted, I could have left that first meeting nominated as the Libertarian Party candidate for my Congressional District. Bizarre.

I didn't think the Party had much chance to "educate" ordinary folks either. I couldn't imagine my working class father being persuaded of anything by a loudmouthed, in-you-face ex-hippy. To my father, a blue collar union member and lifelong Democrat, Jimmy Carter had been a hard sell. Surely my business associates and suburban friends would have none of this. So I took another tack. I struck up conversations with the few reasonable souls in the room and decided to attend a local discussion group they had organized.

That experience proved extremely valuable for my own libertarian education, but it did nothing to satisfy my desire to be politically active, at least at first. Eventually, I became acquainted with others in my town who had similar political interests. We struck out on our own and we made a real difference in local politics. We threw out the entrenched and corrupt city officials, lowered taxes and city debt, opposed the expansionist dreams of these small town fat cats and brought a true "free market" prospective to city government, even electing an alderman or two. It was a heady time. I was convinced the future of libertarianism was at the local level.

Therefore, I slowly drifted away from the Libertarian Party as an outlet for national politics. Besides, Ronald Reagan had gained prominence in the Republican Party and he was saying all the right things. To my great disappointment, President Jimmy Carter had been an unmitigated disaster. I had thought Carter, as a businessman and Washington outsider, could turn things around. I was hoodwinked because at that time I had been philosophically naive. Now I knew how Carter was running the economy into the ground. Inflation was soaring. Interest rates were suffocating. Unemployment was rising. Business was at a stand still. The price of gold had skyrocketed.

Even as a novice Austrian economist, I knew Carter's Keynesianism was the exact opposite of what needed to be done. Reagan promised lower taxes, deregulation and less government, exactly what I knew was needed to avert a total economic collapse. I felt then, as people feel now about Obama, that Carter must be defeated at all costs.

With Reagan's election, the country began to breathe easier again, both economically and socially. Businesses thrived. Individuals prospered. Reagan's effect on the country's mood cannot be overestimated. He made individual Americans feel good again, about themselves and their country. Moreover, Reagan's foreign policy -- rebuilding the military and taking a tough stance against the Soviet Union, the "Evil Empire" -- gave people hope that, finally, the scourge of the Cold War might end. In addition, Reagan's foreign policy was compatible with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism which still influenced my thinking. It was firm and principled. All seemed right with the world.

As Reagan succeeded, I became less and less interested in political activism and more and more interested in political philosophy. Besides my discussion group which was still going strong, I began to participate in internet forums. I also discovered the newly formed "Ludwig von Mises Institute" and various other Free Market websites. In these different venues, as I read and participated in philosophical discussions, I found myself reliving the old anarchist/minarchist debate of years before. Now, of course, the debate had become more sophisticated, but also more vigorous and hateful. I realized another serious fault line was developing, not merely in the "big 'L'" Libertarian Party, but in the "small 'L'" libertarian philosophy.

That fault line still exists today, and Ron Paul is squarely in the middle, straddling the chasm like the fabled Colossus of Rhodes. Wikipedia says that during an earthquake the famed statue "snapped at the knees and fell over." Ron Paul is hoping to avoid the same fate.

More to follow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

UPDATED: Essential Reading

The Ying and Yang of it all...

The SPIN: Conservatives draw knives against Ron Paul from The Washington Examiner.

Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor at National Review, echos his colleague in a Bloomberg News column giving readers a primer on Paul's radical political history before concluding, "the notion that he will be the Republican nominee is too absurd to spend a moment contemplating."

The TRUTH: Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul from Justin Raimondo, writing in January of 2008 in Taki's Magazine.

It’s no mystery, really: Ron Paul is, in many ways, the exact opposite of the Beltway fake-“libertarians.” He’s a populist: they suck up to power, he challenges the powers-that-be; they go along to get along – he has never gone along with the conventional wisdom as defined by the arbiters of political correctness, Left and Right. And most of all, he’s an avowed enemy of the neoconservatives, whom he constantly names as the main danger to peace and liberty – while the Beltway’s tame “libertarians” are in bed with them, often literally as well as figuratively.

In short, the Beltway fake-libs are in bed with the State, and all its works, while contenting themselves with the role of court jester and would-be “reformer” of the system. As long as they don’t challenge anything too fundamental to the continuation of the Welfare-Warfare State, the pet libertines of the neocon-led GOP “coalition” are deemed “urbane” and “cosmopolitan,” the highest compliment the Georgetown party circuit can bestow. Once they begin rocking the boat, as Paul insists on doing, they become fair game for the Smearbund.

SPIN: Obama and ‘the fourth-best president’ in context from The Washington Post.

It was Kroft who earlier said Obama had “some impressive accomplishments” that were “more than a lot of presidents who manage to get reelected.” It was the president who made clear later that he was talking about his “legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years” compared to those of other presidents. If Obama is guilty of anything, it’s that he took the bait to compare himself with giants when it is history that will be the final arbiter.
The TRUTH: ‘When the Legend Becomes Fact, Print the Legend’ by Victor Davis Hanson.
The notion that there was anything in Obama’s past or present temperament to suggest a political reformer was mythological to the core. Almost all his prior elections relied on a paradigm of attacking his opponents rather than defending his own record, from the races for the legislature to the U.S. Senate. He shook down Wall Street as no one had before or since — and well after the September 2008 meltdown. He was the logical expression of the Chicago/Illinois system of Tony Rezko, Blago, and the Daleys, not its aberration — from the mundane of expanding his yard to melting down opponents by leaking sealed divorce records.

The SPIN: Life after the Arab spring from The Guardian.

Commentator Firas al Attrachi refers to it as "a new social contract". He states that "events in Tahrir Square, to some extent in January/February and more so in the past week, have forced the foundation of a new social contract along the lines of how nations were formed during the Greek city-state era", redefining the relationship between people and government, and the very meaning of citizenship in the country.
The TRUTH: Welcome to Cairostan from Y Net News.com.

It was barely mentioned in the Israeli and global media, but the following event pertains to the whole of Western civilization: Last Saturday, violent groups of Islamic-Salafi radicals burned the famous scientific institute established by Napoleon in Egypt after its first encounter with the West. Some historians consider it the start of modern times in the Middle East.

UPDATE:  This article from the Mail Online, The Salafist party's plan for the Pyramids? Cover them in wax, makes the author of "Welcome to Cairostan" above seem quite prophetic!

I Just Don't Get It

'Twas the day after Christmas, and the misfits are at it again. According to An Orlando Sentinel Blog:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that the Department of Defense will begin allowing Muslim and Sikh students who wear an Islamic head scarf (hijab) or a turban to participate in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).
Let me be clear. By "misfit" I'm NOT talking about Ms. Demin Zawity who precipitated the DOD decision. I'm talking about the Obama administration, specifically one Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield who was "asked to respond on behalf of the Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta to...[CAIR's]...October 13, 2011 letter concerning Miss Demin Zawity’s request to wear a religious head covering (hijab) while participating in an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) event at Ravenwood High School."

Was Stubblefield aware that some years ago a Jewish US Air Force officer sued the military for the privilege of wearing a yarmulke or skullcap and he was threatened with Court martial? The Jewish officer sued, and in 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the military and ruled against the Jew.

I'm not an attorney, but the precedent seems clear. According to the Orlando Sentinel article, the Court found that:
Military officials were not constitutionally required to condition their professional decisions to the Constitution because the military was found to be a "specialized society separate from civilian society" and "to accomplish its mission the military must foster instinctive obedience, unity, commitment, and esprit de corps."
Now, the 1986 Supreme Court decision centered about the Jewish officer wearing his skullcap indoors. Whether the DOD will allow Ms. Zawity to wear her hajib only in an outdoor parade and not indoors is an open question. My guess is we'll soon see pictures of Ms. Zawity and other Muslims in full military uniform wearing hajibs and turbins outdoors and in.

Is this the end of the world? Hardly. So long as the rule extends to military personnel of all religions, it may even be a morale booster. On the other hand, does anyone really believe we'll ever see a native American US military officer marching in a parade wearing a full-feathered Sioux war bonnet (which I imagine must have some religious significance)? Or how about a Catholic wearing a black silk biretta complete with a fur ball on top?

I have one question for Mr. Stubblefield (and ultimately Mr. Panetta and Barack Obama): Was this ruling honestly made in the interests of the US military and its mission to defend America, or was it made to mollify CAIR and the Islamic community, which is after all a potential voting constituency of the Democrat Party?

I have two questions for Muslims (or for that matter any religious or immigrant group of fundamentalist philosophy):

First, knowing the military is a, shall we say, extra-Constitutional authority that exercises strict discipline and a strict dress code, why volunteer to join it? When military service was compulsory, individuals who objected to serving on religious grounds could petition for the status of conscientious objector. Some Quakers, who do not believe in war and refuse to fight in war, do not choose to enter the military and, then, sue the military to change its warrior ways. Why do you?

Second, assuming Ms. Zawity may be an immigrant, I've always wondered why immigrants come to this country and then, after arriving, seek to change this country's customs and traditions to accommodate theirs? Don't they do their homework? Don't they know what they're getting themselves into?

Suppose I am a Catholic and I decide to emigrate to Iran where I know I would be a second class citizen as a matter of official, national policy. In the United States I have religious freedom; in Iran, I would have none. Would emigration to Iran be a rational decision on my part? Would it be rational, after I arrive, to sue the Ayatollah for the "right" to pray a rosary in the public square?

I just don't get it!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Washington's Prayer At Valley Forge

The troops arrived at Valley Forge in time for Christmas, but there was no holiday feast. Already the men’s diaries spoke bitterly of a diet of "fire cakes and cold water." A fire cake was simply a flour and water batter fried on a griddle. The morning after Christmas, the men awoke to find four additional inches of snow on the ground. (Source)

 "I was riding with Mr. Potts near to the Valley Forge where the army lay during the war of ye Revolution, when Mr. Potts said, 'Do you see that woods & that plain? There laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods (pointing to a close in view) I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods. To my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home & told my wife. We never thought a man could be a soldier & a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. We thought it was the cause of God & America could prevail." (Source)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Latest Ron Paul Scandal Exposed! The Aweful Truth About His Odious "Solicitation" Letter!!

[WARNING: This post began as a simple, angry rant against the shameless scandal mongers attempting to take down Ron Paul's Presidential candidacy with scurrilous lies and insinuations. It quickly morphed into a too indepth treatise on economic principles. I would apologize but that would require a subjective judgement on my part as to the relative value of the rant versus the treatise. I'll leave that judgement to you.]

The Ron Paul scandal mongers are at it again. Their latest effort is pathetic!

After his second stint in Congress ended in 1985, Ron Paul published an investment letter. From Wikipedia:
Ron Paul & Associates (RP&A), Inc. was initiated during 1984 by Paul, who served as President. Llewellyn H Rockwell Jr. served as Vice President, Ron Paul's wife Carol served as Secretary and Lori Pyeatt as Treasurer. The corporation was dissolved during 2001.[36][37][38][39] In 1985 Ron Paul & Associates began publishing The Ron Paul Investment Letter[40] and The Ron Paul Survival Report;[18][41] it added the more controversial Ron Paul Political Report during 1987.[42] Many articles lacked a byline, yet often invoked Paul's name or persona. Critics have cited statements in the newsletter that they described as racist, such as the statement that Washington, DC is "anti-white and proud of it," and giving advice on using an unregistered gun to defend against black criminals.[43] David Weigel said that the extreme statements were probably written by Rockwell.[44]
Investment letters were extremely popular in the 80's and 90's. It seems every other day I'd receive a "solicitation" letter from a publisher of an investment letter who promised everything from "privileged inside information" to "Ten top secret but effective ways to protect your nest egg!" Most of the publishers were gold bugs.

Harry Browne was my favorite. His "permanent portfolio" recommendation was smart and worked. Plus, he introduced me to Ludwig von Mises and Austrian economics. But there were others. Howard Ruff, Harry Schultz, James Dale Davidson, Jim Blanchard, John Pugsley, Doug Casey and Jim Cook. As I remember, Howard Ruff was the most flamboyant and outrageous. I still receive emails from Cook. I probably even received a solicitation letter or two from Ron Paul. I should have saved them. Obviously, someone did. Here's a pdf of one of Paul's solicitation letters.

All the solicitation letters I received looked pretty much the same and followed more or less the same script. Most forecast the sky is falling. It was good old gloom and doom in the most bombastic terms. Most touted the particular author's special qualifications to either preserve your capital during the coming calamity or profit from the coming crisis big time. Most publishers bragged about their sterling forecasting track record or their unique "insider's" prospective. Most solicitation letters were about six to eight pages long and contained at least two post scripts tagged beneath the signature. For some reason, the text always seemed to be printed in sky blue. Ron Paul's solicitation letter is typical.

Back then I looked forward to receiving these letters and reading them. I was fascinated by their dire predictions and their over-the-top prose. I read them much as a science fiction fan enjoys a good "B" movie on TV. Plus, they were steeped in anti-establishment, contrarian libertarian philosophy and Austrian economics. Like the newsletter authors, I believed government was too big and too powerful. Plus, I knew there was more than a kernel of truth in their economic predictions, so I was interested in their prospective. Austrian economics is the only economics that ever made logical sense to me.

The wonderful thing about Austrian economics is that its logic is never out of date. Certain human actions generate certain reactions which are inevitable, ceteris paribus (all other things being equal). However, the timing of these reactions is almost never predictable with any accuracy. Why? Because all other things in the real world are never equal. The real world is a roiling sea of conflicting, complimentary and cooperative human action. In this sea, it is impossible to isolate any particular action and observe its particular consequence. Its particular consequence is affected or masked by the consequences of other actions. Austrian economics helps us make sense of this roiling mess.


Austrian economics does not utilize the methods of the natural sciences, i.e., the scientific method. Action is human movement with purpose. Empirical observations collected by means of the scientific method can detect the movement, but not the human purpose underlying the movement. The scientific method is suited to understanding why unthinking animals do what they do. It collects data on these animal movements, analyzes this data for distinctive patterns and then induces the instincts and genes that make each species of animal unique. This method can tell us nothing about the actions of thinking human beings. We're driven by purpose, not instinct, properly understood. Each one of us has a unique purpose or goal. Each one of us has our own preferred means of attaining that goal.

So Austrian economics disregards the aggregate jumble of all observable human movement and focuses on individual purpose. Austrian economics is an analytical science, similar to mathematics. It starts from the assumption that each man moves with purpose, i.e., each individual human chooses from the means available to him and strives to attain his particular sought after end. From this premise the Austrian economist simply follows the logic. If each man chooses various means, he deduces that each means is in demand to a varying degree. He deduces that the available supply of these means affects individual "choice." He deduces that individual "choice" implies that each individual has alternative means available to him, some of which he subjectively "values" more than others. From this insight, he deduces the interplay of supply and demand in a "market." He deduces the concept of "price" and the "laws" of supply and demand.

Bear in mind that these insights are analytically deduced from a single premise, just as the laws of geometry are deduced analytically from a single premise. The Austrian economist applies his deduced knowledge to the jumble of human action and, as a result, is able to make sense of it, just as the engineer is able to apply mathematics and geometry to the jumble of conflicting and complimentary forces in nature and make sense of it. The engineer says to an individual: If you want to build a bridge that will not collapse, then you must heed my deduced calculations. The Austrian economist says to an individual: If you want to produce a good or service most efficiently, then you must heed the economic laws I've deduced.

Like the laws of physics, the laws of economics do not dictate ends, but means. Individual men may choose to heed these dictates or ignore them. However, the consequences of either course of action are perfectly predictable and certain. The laws of physics and economics are brutal that way. They cannot be rescinded to suit the convenience of an individual actor.

For example, economic law teaches us that, all else being equal, establishing a legally enforced minimum wage above the market wage which would otherwise prevail, will inexorably create unemployment. I won't elaborate in this post on the reasoning which allows economists to know this. Suffice to say the reasoning is all very tight, accurate and irrefutable.

Now, suppose government sets and enforces a minimum wage above the market wage rate but unemployment doesn't show up in the government's statistics immediately after the minimum wage rate is set. Imagine unemployment doesn't show up in the statistics for an entire year after the minimum rate is set. Does this mean the laws of economics with regard to wage price controls are mistaken? No, it merely means that the observable real world effects of these laws are not conducive to study by means of the scientific method.

The real world is not a laboratory test tube wherein all variables are controlled. Human beings are not lab rats that react in exactly the same way to a given stimulus. After doing an exhaustive "field study" and gathering and analyzing tons of "social data," all the empirical economist can say in the aftermath of the passage of a minimum wage law is that the number of unemployed persons he counted has not increased from his last count. He can induce no law from the data which explains why the count has not increased. For all he knows, workers in a particular wage range became unemployed but simply packed up and moved to another locality where jobs were available.

But I digress! Back to Paul's odious solicitation letter!

Ron Paul's solicitation letter makes dire economic and political predictions. Honest critics would separate his economic predictions, which were largely based on his knowledge of Austrian economics, from his political predictions, which were based on his libertarian philosophy. The economic predictions were reasonable, given the nature of the actions taken by the US government at the time.

Until 1971 gold was money. When Nixon ended the official, government backed link between gold and the dollar, a good Austrian economist -- and Ron Paul was acquainted with many, like Murray Rothbard and Hans Sennholz -- knew exactly what the economic consequences must be, assuming the link between gold and money was not re-established at a later date and that the government began printing fiat money: price inflation.

Let me explain.

Gold, as a physical commodity, cannot be produced from thin air. Gold must be mined, smelted and minted. How much gold is supplied to the market is determined by the laws of economics, supply and demand. Mining gold requires labor and capital investment. These investments must compete in the market place with alternative uses for this labor and capital. The supply of gold used as money is determined by the demand for money. There are competing, alternative demands for gold, industrial and jewelry uses, for instance. So, in essence, the value of gold and the value of money are both determined by the market. In effect, the limited supply of gold and market forces determine and cap the amount of gold money in circulation at any particular time.

Fiat currency is completely different. Made simply of printed paper and, nowadays, electronic computer entries, fiat currency can almost literally be created out of thin air. When honest governments create fiat money from thin air, they account for this money creation as debt, which acts as somewhat of a limiting factor. However, when dishonest governments create fiat money, they simply circulate it. Either way, the quantity of money is increased or inflated.

Usually the circulation of the newly printed money starts with the banks or with government spending. As the new money enters the market and the total supply of money is inflated, the newly created fiat money is spent by those individuals who receive it. As it works its way through the market, gradually and selectively, the prices of selective goods and services are bid up. The prices of all goods and services are not bid up simultaneously or at the same rate. However, the inevitable and inexorable end result is price inflation.

When Nixon decoupled gold from money in 1971, the price of gold was $40.62 per ounce. Today, the price is about $1,600 per ounce, a 40-fold increase.

Today it requires $5.51 to buy the same amount of goods and services that could be purchased for $1 in 1971, according to our best estimate. Looking at it another way, one dollar in 1971 is worth only $0.18 today!

Moreover, just a few days ago US public debt has reached 100% of GDP! The quantity of fiat dollars in circulation has ballooned fantastically since 1971.

I won't trouble you with more boring statistics, but you get the picture. The value of the 1971 dollar has fallen drastically due to monetary and price inflation. This is exactly what Ron Paul predicted. Of course, it's taken 40 years, so the dire urgency communicated in his solicitation letter was extreme hyperbole, probably aimed more at selling newsletters than an accurate description of reality.

Nevertheless, Ron Paul knew full well in 1971 and he knows now that the economic consequences of certain actions are predictable. However, knowing when these consequences will occur is a total crap shoot. His solicitation letter admits as much. "You may not have much time left," Paul writes. "Next year, or next month, the New Money could wipe you out — destroy everything you’ve worked and saved for — and leave your family destitute. It could happen any time." [emphasis mine]

Economic predictions are one thing; political predictions are another. When in his letter Paul speaks about Washington's "financial tyrannies," when he predicts the coercive dissemination of "New Money," the "Hitlerite malarkey" of the War on Drugs, "exchange controls," the "Trilateral Commission" conspiracy, the "FEMA plan to suspend the Constitution," the "coming race war in big cities," the "federal-homosexual coverup on AIDS," the Israeli lobby playing Congress like a "cheap harmonica," the national ID "Soviet-style 'smartcard,'" and all the rest, these are not economic predictions. They are political predictions base on his experience in the federal government and his libertarian philosophy. Paul also made these predictions based on his personal observations of our culture and its changing social mores and political philosophy.

Progressivism emphasizes collective social action, centralized authority and egalitarianism. Libertarianism emphasizes individual freedom, localized authority and social differentiation based on merit. Coming from a libertarian point of view, Paul observed the changes taking place in the United States and the growing acceptance of progressivism. His social predictions arose from those observations. But it is important to understand that these predictions are not certain and logical implications of libertarianism. They are strictly Paul's considered opinion.

That being said, Paul's fears that America was devolving into a restrictive, controlled, Orwellian society are not completely off the mark. Reading the solicitation letter which I assume was written in the mid-to-late 80's, I think many of Paul's predictions have proved remarkably prescient.

How about this? "We have a duty to our country, to our families, and ourselves to preserve our liberty and our assets from the government wolves...Washington, D.C. — HUD, Barney Frank, the IRS, the whole bunch — is our declared enemy in this." 

Most observers put the lion's share of blame on Barney Frank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Community Investment Act for precipitating the 2008 financial crisis.

Or how about this? "I fear there will be welfare riots in the big cities. Massive unemployment. The destruction of wealth. The erosion of personal liberties."

The past few months gangs of transients -- a mystifying mixture of progressives, socialists, hippies, libertarian anarchists, ideologues and street rabble -- have been "occupying" our major cities masquerading as a political movement, breaking windows, burning buildings, raping and murdering. Massive arrests have taken place. We all know Paul was right about the unemployment and the destruction of our wealth and assets resulting from the recent Great Recession. Anyone who flies knows that the 4th Amendment has been commandeered by the imperious TSA.

Privacy is threatened in this country. There have been serious attempts in the Congress to establish a biometric national Id card and database. ObamaCare institutes a national healthcare database.

Our money has been changed (though not to the extent Paul predicted), ostensibly to prevent counterfeiting. The feds now embed optical threads and chips in our new, colorful, "pinkish" fiat money. Moreover, there are real sentiments in the financial community to do away with paper fiat currency completely and institute a cashless society.

Perhaps because Paul's predictions are not coming true overnight, we Americans tend to accept them in stride, with a diffidence which is almost an Orwellian shrug of the shoulders. We accept being told what kind of light bulb we may burn and how we may celebrate holidays. Even the words "Merry Christmas" are enforced by the denizens of political correctness.

My point is this. The latest, manufactured Ron Paul scandal is reminiscent of the long forgotten (by now) take down of Herman Cain's candidacy by the mainstream media, aided and abetted by Democrats and Republicans bent on Cain's destruction. The innuendo is hot and heavy; the facts are few and far between or non-existent. Political enemies with their own axes to grind (gay activism, Zionism, progressivism, collectivism, racialism, internationalism) cannot destroy Paul's message by means of rational argument, so they attack him personally with lies, rumor and ridicule.

These vicious and underhanded critics feign shock and dismay at Paul's 25 year old prediction that a "race war" is coming to our big cities. They take this prediction as evidence that Paul is a wild-eyed racist. Really? Are these critics so logically illiterate they can't distinguish a reasoned prediction from ideological racism?

If you're looking for ideological racism, consider the words and actions of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. If you're interested in the consequences of ideological racism, consider racial mini-riots that occurred recently in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Tennessee, and elsewhere. If you're interested in proving to yourself that Ron Paul's prediction was a reasoned extrapolation of the American social and cultural condition, rely on no less an expert than Barack Obama, who in November of 2008 gave a telling speech expounding on this country's "racial divide." In that speech Mr. Obama said:
The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races. [emphasis mine]
Anyone living in America today knows that noxious epithets like "racist" and "anti-Semite" and "homophobe" and "corporatist" and "right wing extremist" are hurled casually and thoughtlessly at virtually anyone who disagrees, whether civilly or not, with the politics of the hurler. These hateful sobriquets substitute for reasoned argument. They are meant to classify and destroy, not persuade. They serve the same odious purpose as those hateful slurs hurled in days gone by, like "nigger lover" and "Jew-baiter." 

One scandal monger, who detests Ron Paul's opposition to the politicization of homosexuality and AIDS, offers supposed evidence of Paul's rabid homophobia. This well-known gay activist quotes a passage dredged up from Paul's 90's newsletter. He says Paul's newsletter "warns that 'the AIDS patient' should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because 'AIDS can be transmitted by saliva.'" The activist then critically opines that this is "a strange claim for a physician to make."

Strange? In the context of the 80's and 90's when the AIDS epidemic was in full bloom and AIDS science was in its infancy? Consider this article in the NY Times from 1984. Or this 1994 article from the Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Alliance. Even today on the website of the CDC, we find this statement: "In some persons living with HIV, the virus has been detected in saliva, but in extremely low quantities."

Strange? Does this statement prove the CDC is rabidly homophobic? PLEASE!

Paul is criticized for warning prospective newsletter subscribers that "Trouble is coming, and you must be prepared." Is such a warning so outlandish and extreme when it is considered within the context of Paul's prescient predictions outlined above?

Consider the following predictions from Paul's solicitation letter that haven't yet come true:

I have exposed the war on cash, and what it means for honest Americans. The little-known law, rushed through Congress, that lets the feds declare bank holidays nationwide, or just in your town, and freeze your accounts indefinitely. The “money laundering” laws that can wash away our freedoms. And the international bankers’ pipeline into your wallet. ...I have unmasked the plot for world government, world money, and world central banking. Planned exchange controls to hold you hostage… ...The FEMA plan to suspend the Constitution in a “national emergency.”
Schemes to force pension plans to “invest” in federal debt, with coerced rollovers and more debt in lieu of interest...The nightmare of a “cashless society...,” the Establishment assault on hard assets that will make us nostalgic for FDR...

...The exaltation of envy. The suppression of privacy. Authoritarian clamp-downs. Bank and S&L closings on a massive scale. A world dollar crisis as the greenback...is rejected for almost any non-paper alternative.

Maybe the “recovery,” which the politicians are always trumpeting, is permanent. Maybe Bush and company will give us the balanced budget, sound money, and drastic spending and tax cuts we need. Maybe they’ll curb the IRS and the Fed. Maybe lasting prosperity is around the corner. Maybe there’s a tooth fairy. But i don’t believe it.

Now, ask yourself if Paul's exhortation to be prepared is foolish or wise? Keep in mind that these predictions were made a quarter of a century ago. Now, ask yourself if these predictions seem crazy and impossible in today's climate of political and financial turmoil, or if they are simply ammo being used by pathetic scandalmongers to discredit Paul?

Now ask yourself one more question: Am I prepared to cast a vote to elect the only true Washington outsider, the thoughtful and prescient Ron Paul, as President of the United States?