Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Criticism of Ron Paul

My Criticism of Ron Paul

Before I begin, let me express the fact that I do have quite a bit of respect for Ron Paul, and the spirit he speaks from. He has a moral conviction and concern for society that is relatively rare. In many ways he is a very wise economist, but in other ways, he is a boob that cannot see past the limitations his own ideology. A common mistake of men is to simply adopt one ideology, and believe it to be a fundamental truth that is all-encompassing, and can be applied to any situation. Ron Paul makes this fatal error unmistakably. However, first of all, let me be a bit gentler with Paul. I don’t want to rough him up too hard, at least at first. I would like to go into where he actually gets it right. He gets the economic theory mostly right: his critique of the US monetary policy is bang on, as it is important to acknowledge his in depth understanding of how excessive inflation caused by central bank’s mismanagement can bring a currency to its knees. He is also very critical of unnecessary military action and spending, and other foreign policies that breed perpetual war and conflict. While in the presidential debates, I observed courage in Paul that was not present in any other candidate. His major points I agree with is his criticism of US monetary policy, foreign policy and the corrupt relationship corporations have to the US government. However, as a strict libertarian, Paul is… well, how do I say this politely, blind as a bat in many ways. Actually, that metaphor is a tad harsh. How can I be gentler – Paul is more like a bald eagle that is capable of soaring high and seeing great distances and big pictures, but when he flies over certain landscapes, his wings suddenly stop working, and he haphazardly does a nose dive, and an inevitable face plant into the hard earth below. Of course, he isn’t aware such errors, but I will attempt to point them out here.

First of all, Ron Paul is against all forms of taxation, which is very extreme. Taxation is necessary if you want any sort of government funded entitlements, which most of the populous wants. So from the very beginning, Paul alienates many of the listeners when he says he wants to do away with the income tax, and all tax for that matter. However, his major error in thinking is when he assumes, like all libertarians do, that the ‘free market’ can magically fix any injustice and problem of fairness in society. Libertarians demonize governments as if they are a lot different than corporations. In my opinion, governments are subject to the same corruption as corporations, and that is why you need to regulate both, to keep corruption in check. However, libertarians view any action by the government as interference in the ‘free market’, like they are throwing a wrench into a finely tuned system. However, the mortgage collapse, (caused mostly by deregulation) is overwhelming evidence that the ‘free market’ is not a magically self-fixing system. People in high places of corporations can bring an economy to its knees if they do the wrong thing, which can be prevented with government oversight and regulation. Moreover, because corporations and government are run by imperfect people, doing the wrong thing on a massive scale by either institution can have dire consequences. This happens because it is human nature to be more concerned with one’s narrow short term personal gains then the big picture, or the health of the society as a whole. That is why I believe Regulation is needed for both corporations and government, to keep human nature is check. This suggests that human nature is the problem, not the institution. That is the major flaw of libertarianism – It assumes government is the primary demonic target, while I believe it is merely a vehicle for people to act out their inherent character flaws. The bottom line – A man who blindly believes in any ideology wholeheartedly as fundamentalism, without examining human nature as the primary causal factor is not making sound logical observations, but blinded by the limited scope of his own belief system.

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