A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Salon, Again, Attempts to Slam Ron Paul But End Up Looking Ignorant

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Take it away Rothbard:

Due to general economic ignorance I’m getting my milage out of that image. Salon is a giant progressive circle-jerk publication that spends a great deal of time espousing ideas without actually understanding them. While the publication is generally anti-war, a position I greatly agree with, their writings on economic subjects demonstrate a complete ignorance on the subject. Writers as Salon have latched onto the occupy movement and are attempting to demonstrate their complete support of the “99%.” Their hatred of everything liberal (using the classical definition of the word of course) is constantly seen in every article they write, which is why I’m not surprised they spent so much time writing a hit piece on Ron Paul. I call it a hit piece because the accusations they make are entirely false or stem from ignorance:

So there’s no question that there’s a lot to like in Paul’s foreign policy positions, if you’re leaning to the left. The problem is that Paul is less of a 21st century dove than he is a throwback to the isolationism of the early to mid-20th century, in which fear of foreign entanglements was embraced by the hard right — with all that came with it.

Isolationism is not noninterventionism. Ron Paul is a noninterventionist, a belief that American should stick to minding its own business but willingly engage in free trade with other nations. On the other hand isolationism is the belief that no interaction between your nation and foreign nations should occur. The difference may seem minor but it is in fact quite stark as noninterventionism is simply a removal of one’s self from the political affairs of another. Using the interaction between individuals as a demonstration isolationism would be you refusing to interact in anyway with a neighbor who is of a different religion while noninterventionism would be you interacting with your neighbor but simply not involving yourself with his religious beliefs. Our interventionist foreign policies, waring with anybody and everybody who doesn’t do as we command, is what lead to a great deal of strife in this country. I’ve dwelled on this point long enough and this article is a vast smorgasbord of stupidity so let’s move on:

Paul is, in fact, the closest of all the GOP candidates to carrying out the anti-government policies Rand advocated.

Any Rand wasn’t anti-government, she believe there needed to be a government for military protection of the citizenry. Murray Rothbard on the other hand is a true enemy of the state. I admit stating this has no point in regards to this post, I just wanted to say it, but it would do well if writers at Salon used proper examples when making broad statements.

His “restore” plan embraces the kind of deprivation that Rand’s Objectivist philosophy would impose on America, and would enact a fundamental change in the role of government that the radical right cherishes.

Depravation? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Deprivation implies corruption which is what our government currently has in spades primarily due to the vast amount of power they wield. Taking power away from government reduces their ability to act on the corrupt desires of politicians. It’s becomes far more difficult to extort money from a businessman if that businessman’s company doesn’t fall under government regulations. Likewise government actors have less to offer private actors in exchange for favors and political contributions further reducing the corruption when reducing government power. Reducing government power as expressed by Ayn Rand wouldn’t submit the American people to more corruption, it would reduce it.

No more aid to education. Goodbye, Department of Education.

The Department of Education doesn’t aid education, they redistribute money based on performance of students and willingness of schools to adhere to government mandated educational points. Our system is rather convoluted in the United States as each state is required to pay money to the federal government but that money is not returned proportionale. Minnesota is one of the states that pays more to the federal government than it receives back. In the case of education the amount of money you receive back from the federal government is based strongly on the performance of students on standardized tests (No Child Left Behind is one of many pieces of legislation that regulated this). Students who perform well on mandatory tests earn more money for their schools while schools with lower average student scores on these tests receive less money.

While many people claim such a system rewards high performing teachers what it really does is encourages teachers to teach students how to memorize facts. Teachers spend a great deal of classroom time drilling specific facts into the heads of students instead of educating them on matters not found on standardized tests. This style of “teaching” has another side effect, students become very good and simply memorizing facts but are unable to critically think to come to their own conclusions. Our education system basically stomps out creativity and attempts to churn out cookie cutter factory workers.

Since students living in poor regions generally do worse on these standardized test than students in wealthy regions these policies negatively affect the poor.

No more government-subsidized housing. Goodbye, Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Government subsidized housing is another example of an idea proclaimed to help the poor but in reality only serves to hurt them. How so? When government injects money into a market they artificially raise the price (something people are witnessing with education at the moment). A house worth $50,000 on the free market becomes worth $100,000 (I’m using arbitrarily selected numbers for example purposes) since the builders are able to get $100,000 for the home. Prices are set based on what the market will bear, if your price is too high you will fail as nobody will buy your product. Governments are not subject to pricing though as they obtain their money through coercive methods and thus can pay whatever the asking price is. Builders knowing this will increase their bid to construct a building when they know the government is footing some or all of the bill.

This type of cost inflation is far more notable with defense contractors. Even though the government goes with the lowest bidder every bidder knowns this and knows their competition is likely increasing their bid by a large amount so they also increase their bid by a large amount (just not as large an amount). Thus a hammer that costs $2.50 to make can cost the government $100.00 to buy.

Subsidized housing only harms the poor as it increases the cost of houses through government distortion.

No more energy programs. Goodbye, Department of Energy.

Damn, whatever shall we do with no more cases like Solyndra?

No more programs to promote commerce and technology. Goodbye, Department of Commerce.

Without programs to “promote” commerce how will we promote the Christmas Tree industry after charing additional taxes on each tree? We don’t need government to promote commerce and technology, companies do a fine job of this through marketing already.

*No more national parks. Goodbye, Department of the Interior.

I wonder what that asterisk is supposed to denote. Maybe a footnote is missing? Perhaps a footnote stating national parks are also control by the United States National Park Service making the Department of Interior redundant in this case? Who knows, the author never actually inserted the footnote.

His opposition to the very existence of the Federal Reserve — he wrote a book titled “End the Fed” — is straight out of Rand, as is his promotion of the gold standard.

Paul would not reform the abysmally flawed and underfunded Securities and Exchange Commission, he would eliminate it. The only agency of the federal government that stands between the public and greedy bankers and crooked corporations would be gone.

I can’t believe I just read that. The author claims the Securities and Exchange Commission is the only agency that stands between the public and greedy bankers but also implies Dr. Paul’s desire to end the Federal Reserve is somehow bad (by proclaiming the ideas expressed by Ayn Rand are bad for American and ending the Federal Reserve is something Rand believed in).

The Federal Reserve is the enabler of bankers. Our glorious Federal Reserve was created by bankers during a secret meeting on Jekyll Island and today bankers make up a majority of the board of directors. Ending the federal reserve removes the teeth of the bankers and thus claiming Ron Paul is an enabling of bankers while trying to eliminate the federal reserve is a logical fallacy of astronomical proportions.

And this is but the beginning of the shower of blessings that would rain down upon the very richest Americans. He would end the income tax, thereby making the United States the ultimate onshore tax haven. The message to both the Street and corporate America would be a kind of hyper-Reaganesque “Go to town, guys.” With income, estate and gift taxes eliminated and the top corporate tax rate lowered to 15 percent (and not a word about cutting corporate tax loopholes), a kind of perma-plutonomy would come to exist in the land — to the extent that there isn’t one already.

Because having people put their money in the United States is a bad thing? I fail to see how promoting business by reducing the mount of money stolen from them by the government each year is a bad thing. Note the author next explains how lowering the income tax would hurt the little guy who would also be keeping more of their money instead of forfeiting it to the government. The author also makes the accusation that reducing corporate income tax would create a perma-plutonomy without justifying the accusation. A plutonomy, according to the link in the article, “is a form of capitalism that is designed to make the rich who control a nation’s government and its economy—aka, the plutocrats—even richer. ”

Once again how do the rich control the United States government and the economy? Through the Federal Reserve. Obviously the author lacks any understanding of what the Federal Reserve is or does.

Despite all its window-dressing and spin, the heart of every libertarian plan for this country is a kind of mammoth subtraction: making deep cuts in programs benefiting millions of Americans, out of a belief that such programs are morally wrong. Restoring America is a moral statement, an enshrinement of the Randian belief that aid to one facet of the population (the poor) is really “looting” of resources from other facets of the population (the wealthy).

The author never attempts to argue against this libertarian belief, probably because it’s entirely true. Taxation is theft and is opposed by libertarians because it violates the non-aggression principle. Truth be told millions of American would benefit if the government simply walked into Bill Gate’s home, stole all of his money and belongings, and redistributed them among millions of other Americans. Then again every American would suffer as entrepreneurs would flee this country for fear of having their wealth confiscated for being successful. Our country would be a far bleaker place had the Henry Fords, Steve Wozniacks, and other successful inventors been in other countries.

Ayn Rand believed that there is no such thing as a “public,” and that the public was a collection of individuals, each having no obligation to the other. So when you read through this budget, and see the deep cuts in food stamps and child nutrition, what you are seeing is an expression of a philosophy that is at odds with the Judeo-Christian system of morality embraced by most Americans.

Emphasis mine. How is advocating charity and mutual aid in conflict with traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs? While theft is opposed by most Christian, and is even against one of the ten commandments, voluntary giving to help others is advocated as a great thing. Eliminating government programs reduces theft and doesn’t oppose charitable contributions or mutual aid. Pro tip to the author, religions is a tricky beast and can easily been used for argue both sides of the same point so it’s best to avoid using it as justification for any non-theological debate.

What I’ve just described is many things, but it is the very antithesis of the values of Occupy Wall Street, which is based on opposition to the prerogatives of the top 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

So by taking away power from the “1%” Ron Paul is somehow against the prerogatives of the “99%.” Interesting indeed.

No, strike that. His positions are scary only if you know what they actually are, and not how he spins them.

Actually his position are only scary if you don’t know what they actually are.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 30th, 2011 at 10:30 am