Ron Paul Kinda, Sorta Making Sense

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 22, 2009

The subject of my latest New Ledger article:

My libertarianish leanings–which counterbalance my conservative ones–notwithstanding, I really don’t have much use for many of Ron Paul’s arguments. We agree on certain economic principles, but a number of his arguments go too far for my tastes. And when it comes to foreign policy, his argument that the United States should adopt the views and the practices of the Founders is antiquated in a world where–unlike the world of the Founders–America is the preeminent power and should act differently than she did at the time of her founding, when she was weak, and had to chart a middle course between an exceedingly powerful Great Britain and a very powerful France.

My ambivalence regarding Paul’s arguments returns upon reading pieces like this one. Paul’s argument that we ought to dismantle the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard is really not worth discussing at length, if only because the idea is so politically infeasible, not to mention guaranteed to cause significant and potentially dangerous upheaval if implemented. His foreign policy isolationism will serve to cost the United States her primacy in the world, allowing countries like China and Russia to fill the void.

Why Paul believes that this is good for our economic health–or good for the national security interests of the United States in general–is beyond me.

But give Paul his due; he is surely right to note that the Keynesian approach to reviving our economy has failed disastrously. He is right to note that deregulation is needed (let me add here that it is silly to think that with nearly 70,000 pages in the Federal Register, the problem facing the American economy is that we are just not regulated enough), and he is right to note that creative destruction ought to be allowed to run its course by permitting bankruptcies to take place instead of repeatedly bailing out failing companies and creating all sorts of moral hazard problems.

Read it all.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    Good thing you are not an economist.

  • yossi23777

    If going back to the gold standard or even a multiple commodities based currency (i.e. silver, gold, platinum) isn't the answer, thaen I would LOVE to hear what your solution to the failed keynsian concept is……..what? a global currency?……

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    We are, of course, all pleased that you are happy. Now, if you have nothing substantive to say, I trust you will take your leave.

  • abellyacher

    After I dug through all the jingoism in this article, I found several errors. Ron Paul is suggesting we bring all of our troops home and close all the bases outside the U.S. Do you know how much money you would bring back into the country if all the soldiers were spending their paychecks here instead of some other country? Do you think we would inspire more hatred in Asia by leaving our troops in their countries indefinately, or would we inspire more hatred towards America by bringing them home?

    Your point about America's supremecy is super jingoism at it's finest. Do you understand we are broke? We cannot afford our foreign expansion. And he does not suggest having a weak Military, he advocates a strong military but no pre-emptive wars like Iraq 1 and 2.

    Also are you aware of what the Federal Reserve has been doing to the monetary supply? If so, please fill us all in because the congress and public don't have a clue what they are doing in their secret meetings. You're unhappy because your economy is falling apart, you want answers, Ron Paul wants answers as well. Audit the Fed

    and stop trying to inflate your pageviews by mentioning Ron Paul.

  • fiatdollars

    Who cares what you think. You are a foriegner. We don't expect you and your family to understand true Americanism. Go back where you came from if our system of free trade and concepts of honest money bother you so. You obviously have no concept of why this country achieved such gains in the first place. You obviously have no concept of the history of all central banks or the personages behind them. Seriously, go home.

  • bdomenech

    Thank you for gracing us with your laughably misplaced xenophobia and your impressive ability to launch a three-pronged assault on sense, politeness, and the English language. However, in the future, we ask that you please learn to properly spell “foreigner.” I believe the form you are looking for is “furiner,” or perhaps the efficient plural, “ferners.” Thank you.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    I actually would have thought that you were the foreigner, seeing as how you incorrectly spell the word as “foriegner.” Is English not your first language?

    In any event, as Ben notes, thanks for your xenophobia and racism. But unfortunately for you, I am a free trader and an American since birth. Unless you are a Native American, I am afraid you don't get to sneer at other people. And it seems clear that you are not, given your problems with the English language. It also seems that you can't refute my actual arguments, but I assume that you are aware of that, your obvious intellectual limitations notwithstanding.

  • rosco1776

    It's a shame so many “journalists” write about Ron Paul but don't actually read his policies. First he's not an isolationist, he's a non-interventionist. That means not invading sovereign nations without congress declaring war. We still have a constitution the last time I checked. And we wonder why other nations hate us, we are worse than Russia used to be. Seems we kicked England and France's ass back when we were weak. Hmmm……..
    The federal reserve has done more harm to our monetary system than going back to a gold standard and having congress coin the money would do. Damn, there's that pesky constitution again! The banks and foreign countries own us now and we are so far in debt there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Keep listening to the “economists” and I'll listen to Ron Paul and Peter Schiff, they helped me save my 401K from disaster. ;)

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    We didn't kick France's . . . er . . . behind while we were weak. We only beat England because France helped us. Your comment that we are “worse than Russia used to be” is not intellectually serious and therefore doesn't deserve much of a response. There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a federal reserve, or fiat money. Please actually try reading the Constitution before opining on it. It is generally helpful if you do.

  • rosco1776

    Wrong again! I have a copy of the constitution on my website.
    The Congress shall have the power To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures:
    Gee, the federal reserve does that now, hmmm……
    Like stated above, what's your soultion, keep printing money? LOL! How's that working out for Zimbabwe?
    Root causes of hyperinflation:
    The main cause of hyperinflation is a massive and rapid increase in the amount of money, which is not supported by growth in the output of goods and services.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

  • CSBadeaux

    First off, please hit “Reply” in the future.

    Second, your problem is that the money is printed, and not what's backing it? (It can't be that the Federal Reserve is doing it; they're to all intents and purposes a Congressional agency designed to issue currency. Congress can revoke its charter at any time.)

    Ok. Let's all agree to have the Federal Reserve issue fiat coins. Is that better?

  • CSBadeaux

    Fiat currency is the least bad solution. Backed currencies lead to horrible deflation on a periodic basis, as any awareness of American history before, say, the 1970s would show you.

    But I don't expect Ron Paul fans to actually read history.

  • MusoSpuso

    As there is not enough room to go into a full defense of the gold standard, I would suggest a book: What Has the Government Done to Our Money? And the Case for the 100% Gold Backed Dollar by Murray Rothbard. He can explain it far better than I and it's a pretty quick read. If you still think the gold standard is crazy after reading that book, I'm not sure much else could convince you, other than to point out historical precedent–not one fiat currency has lasted more than 50 years. Remember, we have only been completely off the gold standard since 1971. 38 years.

    On foreign policy, I would also point out simple historical precedent though I'm sure there are an equal number of good books on the subject: empires always collapse under their own weight. Welfare and warfare inevitably bring all empires to their knees. Guns and Butter. Bread and Circuses. Take your pick. All other arguments in defense of the American Empire aside, the basic fact (which Ron Paul points out consistently) is that we simply cannot afford it. While I do like that argument for practical and logical reasons, I do realize its short-comings; proponents of empire will simply say: “Well then we just need to stop welfare so we can afford our wars!”.

    The “worse than Russia” comment may very well have been a bit of an exaggeration (Stalin murdered far more than Hitler ever did) but I believe the point he was trying to illustrate was the fact that we have over 270 military bases in over 150 countries. My numbers may not be exact and 100% up to date but they're close–and even close is enough to make the point on the absurdity of our foreign policy. Worse than Russia? Maybe not. In line with American Republicanism? Absolutely not.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    Rather than “take my leave”, I believe I will rebut your argument regarding the Constitution, instead. Stating that there “…is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a Federal Reserve, or fiat money.” is a fallacious argument, as government can do nothing that is not 'expressly allowed' in the constitution. Congress IS expressly allowed to 'coin money and regulate the value thereof' in Article 1, Section 8; which is quite lawful. Citizens would bring in their gold or silver and the treasury would coin it for them and give it back. That money carried value intrinsically and by virtue of the labor involved in the mining and refining of the metal.
    Congress was granted the authority by The People, who hold all rights; therefore, they cannot pass this authority to another body (whether private or not). That would be equivalent to a traffic-cop handing his flashlight to me and saying that I am now authorized to direct traffic, so he doesn't have to.
    As for fiat money (bills of credit), the main reason for the 2nd Continental Congress was that the states were printing money hand over fist and plunging the economy of the new union into massive debt and inflation. Article 1, Section 10 specifically prohibits the States from emitting 'bills of credit' and no State can '…make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts'.
    To truly understand the Constitution, it is best to read the arguments and thoughts of the Founders (both Federalist & “Anti”-Federalist) as the Constitution itself does not explain itself.
    However, I am with you on the France portion. We were not at war with France.

  • rosco1776

    The Federal Reserve is not a part of the government, no elected officials. They are banks pure and simple.
    We were warned!!

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” Thomas Jefferson

    “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed. Abraham Lincoln

  • CSBadeaux

    The Federal Reserve is a combination of regional banks that are owned by private banks in name only. The charter descends from the government and can be withdrawn at any time.

    The rest of your comment is meaningless.

  • CSBadeaux

    Are you actually proposing the idea that the power to “coin money and regulate the value thereof” only means “take whatever metal the citizens choose to donate and make coins out of them”? In other words, the mere printing of a dollar — not the coining thereof — even if backed by metal, is an unconstitutional act? We've only been printing currency since the Constitution was enacted, so this does raise thorny questions that those crazy leftists like Antonin Scalia might be able to answer, something about traditional acceptance becoming a norm or something.

    I leave to the side the nuttiness of demanding massive, and repeated, deflation by wanting to go to a gold standard.

    What the States are not permitted to do is different than the extent of what the Federal government is allowed to do. (This is why they're in different Articles.)

    The anti-Federalists have no say in the meaning and extent of a Constitution they opposed.

  • rosco1776

    Wow, you removed quotes from the founding fathers, nice!

  • CSBadeaux

    My admiration for Mr. Rothbard's ability as a playwright notwithstanding, I presume he didn't bother to mention that metal standards tend to produce horrible deflation (too few dollars chasing too many goods) on a regular basis, in turn producing wrenching depressions, social unrest, economic loss and inefficiency, and populist movements that eventually end those standards and cause collateral damage on a regular basis?

    On foreign policy: All states fall. Empires, republics, democracies, monarchies, commonwealths, confederacies. It's the way of things. This assumes that we're an Empire, which we are only if you take the word past all logical meaning.

    “Worse than Russia” is so far from being accurate that it's a non-starter. Seriously: Having bases by consent of the places where we have the bases is so different from forced empire that it suggests the writer is deranged.

    However, as your problem appears to be bases, would you be happier if we just sent our armed forces over to blow up and intimidate others from our own shores on a regular basis, as we did before 1945? I'm just trying to figure out your objection here.

  • CSBadeaux

    Abraham Lincoln was not a Founding Father. Moreover, arguments and not mere recitations of quotes are the goal here.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Alas, your commentary is absurd. As Mr. Badeaux points out, the Federal Reserve is created by Congress and Congress may take away its power to print money. Congress acted in accordance with the Constitution in creating the Federal Reserve, and performs oversight on the Fed (you might have noticed that Ben Bernanke was up at the Hill testifying over the past few days. What do you think made him do that? An especially charming invitation?).

    Additionally, having the Fed print money does not entail advocating that we reach levels of inflation common in Zimbabwe. Whoever taught you the opposite is a valid argument did you a disservice. And if you came up with the argument all by your lonesome, well, I guess there are things I could say concerning your intellectual skills, but I try not to insult people, even when secretly, I think they might deserve the insults.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Chris, it might be added that since he was in France, serving as our Ambassador at the time, Thomas Jefferson wasn't a Framer of the Constitution. I imagine that our guest is confused concerning that matter as well.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    You were invited to take your leave previously because your comment–while admirably pithy–was also entirely substance-free, and devoid of value.

    Your latest comment, is not pithy, and as Mr. Badeaux has demonstrated, is still devoid of value. I shall not recapitulate his arguments, which he has admirably spelled out so that even the likes of you could understand them. I shall say that they caused me to laugh and delight in the fact that he is my colleague and that you are not.

    Concerning some other matters: You can, in fact, be deputized by a police officer if there is a relevant state or municipal statute allowing for deputization. As for the issue of France, I am pleased that you are aware we were not at war with France. Your co-cultist appears to be confused concerning that issue.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    No, I am not proposing that Citizens were to 'donate' their gold & silver. They brought their G/S to the mint, which coined it for them, so as to make them all the same weight, which makes for easier trade. As for the paper-money aspect. Fiat currency does not include fully-backed receipts (which was where paper money started. Holders of gold would take their money to the gold-smyth to hold in his vault, and the smith would give the owner receipts, tatoalling the amount of gold he was holding (for a fee to store the gold). As these were easier to exchange than the gold itself, they would trade using their receipts (which represented the ownership of a specific amount of gold). Federal reserve notes are NOT Dollars, but are IOUs, or, bills of credit. They represent nothing and have no value. There is no amount of gold that it needs to stand for to be legally traded, therefore, there is nothing to keep from simply printing it hand-over-fist (as they have been doing since the end of Bretton-Woods. As the Founders purpose for gathering for the 2nd Cont. Congress was to fix the Articles of the Federation (due to it's inability to get a hold on rampant fiat printing by the States, do you really think they 'meant' to allow unbacked, paper currency? I think not.

    CSBadeaux wrote: “(This is why they're in different Articles)”
    I was quoting from Article 1, Sec 10.

    The “Anti”-Federalists were those who kept us free from the usurpation by Hammilton's gang of monarchists, sir. Federalism is a loosly banded group of sovreign States, with more power in the States and a weak central government. Hammilton knew this and decided to call his gang the 'Federalists', even though they were actually nationalists (strong central-government, where the lines between the states are mere lines on a map, or relative to such) as they knew they would not have support from the people. As they were the 'Federalists', they decided to call the other side (who were the TRUE federalists) the 'ANTI-Federalists' as it would lend to being a convenient manipulation of truth.

    As Thomas Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist, I guess I find myself in good company.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    It is in front of me daily, sir. After what I have written so far, I believe your comments on my knowledge of the Constitution are unfounded.

    When you are deputized and performing police duties, you are considered a public servent. When the FED does the job of the Treasury, they are still owned by private investors and are answerable to no one.

    Don't bring one of my sentences up to refute based on bad grammar. That is childish.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    If it were in front of you daily, you would probably know that the mere printing of a dollar is not an unconstitutional act. You might also know better than to confuse what is prohibited to the states with what is prohibited to the Federal Government. You might also understand that no one here is claiming the states have the power to print their own money, so bringing up Art. I, Sec. 10 is a waste of time.

    As Mr. Badeaux has pointed out, the Fed's charter is issued by Congress, and therefore can be revoked by Congress. Congress can also amend the charter in any number of ways. The Fed is answerable to Congress, which possesses oversight responsibilities over the Fed, and which is why Bernanke had to go and testify before Congress the past two days. You might have heard about this. All of this makes “by private investors” a non sequitur of an argument, and the claim that the Fed is “answerable to no one” patently false. Please stop deliberately repeating comments that you know–or should know–to be false.

    You have not been refuted merely on bad grammar, as previous comments amply demonstrate. I understand that you wish to ignore this fact, but wishing it away does not suffice.

    Closing questions:

    What are the “Articles of the Federation?” Another grammatical error I am not supposed to discuss?

    If, as you say, “[f]ederal reserve notes are NOT Dollars, but are IOUs, or, bills of credit. They represent nothing and have no value,” can I have all of the Federal Reserve notes in your possession?

  • MusoSpuso

    CSBadeaux:
    Rothbard addresses that actual issue in the book–that is, the supposed belief that asset backed currencies “cause” deflation. The book is barely 200 pages with medium sized print. Honestly, it would take a day at most to digest, it really will explain most, if not all, of your questions and common objections. In fact, it surprises and astounds me that so many intellectuals and otherwise very intelligent people to this day understand little to nothing about actual commodity backed currencies.

    Systems crumble and people die–this is a pointless axiom. My point was not meant to point out grand truths of the universe but merely to say that as a Republic we have arguably enjoyed the highest standard of living on a larger scale than any other group of people on this planet for the known history of humankind; something we'd all like to preserve, no?

    While I do appreciate the dictionary defintion, I prefer an added bit of historical information that the wiki definition adds:

    “…Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples (ethnic groups) united and ruled either by a monarch (emperor, empress) or an OLIGARCHY.”

    Emphasis added. Geographically extensive, check (bases, territories, protectorates and claims around the world–political and corporate). United and ruled by a monarch or an oligarchy, check. I would argue that we are more or less run under an oligarchy at this point in our history. A quick check of common corporate contributors (to both parties) and familial/political associations in the various branches of federal government over the centuries (particularly in the last century), can easily support this assertion.

    I would take issue with your idea of “consent”. I do not believe that the people of Saudi Arabia for instance, have a democratic (or otherwise) voice in the actions of their government. To my knowledge the country is still run under a brutal monarchy. Consent implies choice. Many of the countries that we have bases in have no direct “consent” by the people. And paying off the so-called “leaders” of these countries with money and political support (and military), again, hardly constitutes consent.

    As to your last point, I would actually prefer that I not be presented with a false choice or “devil's horns” logical fallacy. If you believe that the only two choices a country has in foreign policy is blowing them up from home or stepping on their necks abroad then let me present a few other ideas our founders though were pretty neato: friendship, free trade, travel, minding our own business. Strange concepts by today's jingoistic, child-like, war-hawk, sticking-your-nose-in-others'-business paradigm, I know–but not impossible to understand by any means.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    Congress only has the powers listed under Art.1, Sec.8. Where do you see the power to print paper money? Where do you see the ability to give their power to a private banking cartel, run for the profit of PRIVATE banks, to borrow at interest what congress can coin WITHOUT interest? The Federal Reserve Act was written by representatives of the banks themselves. The bill was supposed to free the people from the “Grips of the Money-Trust” which were the same banks that wrote it. This was kept secret for quite some time, until the FED Act was safely in gear long enough to be accepted. Then, a few of these scoundrels decided to write about what happened in books and tell their stories in interviews. It was a scam to create a banking cartel. They decided they could make much more money by working together and getting rid of true competition. Of course, they still need to make it look legit, to keep off the hounds, it has to SEEM federal, after all. However, it has done exactly the opposite as it claimed. It has destabilized the economy rather than improving it. This was just as true just before the crash of '29 and ever since then. We were a wealthy republic, but have become the greatest debtor of all time. This is the opposite of wealth.

    You got me on the Articles of the Federation gaffe. I'll give you that (corrected original post)

    As for your offer, I'll exchange them for silver and gold instead. They are, after all, IOU's and as something is owed to me, I intend to exchange for hard assets that keep their value. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • CSBadeaux

    Oh, I see. Your problem isn't with a Constitutional limitation — after all, the power “to coin money and regulate [its] value” necessarily includes coining like mad, with or without any sort of backing beyond the Full Faith and Credit of the United States. Your problem is with the backing of the coins created — which is to say, with a policy position. Why you want crushing deflation is lost on me, but I'm not a fan of deflation, so we'll just have to differ there.

    What the Founders meant is irrelevant; what they said is. They said “coin money and regulate its value,” which, when coupled with the exclusion of the States from the mix, they clearly meant to create a monopoly of control of currency in the hands of the Federal government. One which, incidentally, has the power to coin money however it would like (I presume printing it would be ok too, but reasonable minds may differ) and set its value against gold, silver, or whatever it likes. Words matter.

    As money works best as a medium of exchange — this is an insight of that raging Keynesian Milton Friedman — when it is of absolutely no intrinsic value

    I was quoting from Article 1, Sec 10.

    I stand corrected, and was too flip by half. My apologies.

    The “Anti”-Federalists were those who kept us free from the usurpation by Hamilton’s gang of monarchists, sir.

    No, the anti-Federalists were opposed to a Federal system. Hamilton's “gang of monarchists” were the ones advocating for the United States Constitution. The anti-Federalists opposed it as providing too much power to the Federal government. They lost. They may have had good policy concerns, but their interpretation of a document they opposed is interesting at most.

    I would rather be a monarchist opposed to slavery than a man who rejoices in the slaughter of children and keeps slaves. Give me Hamilton over Jefferson any day.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    CSB Wote: “I presume he didn't bother to mention that metal standards tend to produce horrible deflation (too few dollars chasing too many goods) on a regular basis,”

    The horrible conditions you are talking about are not so horrible, compaired to what fiat currency has caused. Gold/Silver standards do not cause rampant inflation nor deflation and while nothing is recession-proof, it far-surpasses fiat-based currency in terms of stability. It's bubbles are short-lived and minor, in stark contrast to the depressions of the FED.

  • CSBadeaux

    Rothbard addresses that actual issue in the book–that is, the supposed belief that asset backed currencies “cause” deflation. The book is barely 200 pages with medium sized print. Honestly, it would take a day at most to digest, it really will explain most, if not all, of your questions and common objections. In fact, it surprises and astounds me that so many intellectuals and otherwise very intelligent people to this day understand little to nothing about actual commodity backed currencies.

    I agree that if we had an infinite amount of gold against which to set our currency we would never need to fear deflation. We do not, and so we axiomatically must fear too few dollars chasing too many goods, which is the definition of deflation.

    Systems crumble and people die–this is a pointless axiom. My point was not meant to point out grand truths of the universe but merely to say that as a Republic we have arguably enjoyed the highest standard of living on a larger scale than any other group of people on this planet for the known history of humankind; something we'd all like to preserve, no?

    Given that this system came about as a result of what you are decrying as imperial behavior, I'm at a loss for why you want to end it.

    Geographically extensive, check (bases, territories, protectorates and claims around the world–political and corporate). United and ruled by a monarch or an oligarchy, check. I would argue that we are more or less run under an oligarchy at this point in our history. A quick check of common corporate contributors (to both parties) and familial/political associations in the various branches of federal government over the centuries (particularly in the last century), can easily support this assertion.

    There are so many logical leaps and fallacies in here it's hard to keep track. I'm only surprised that neither the Council on Foreign Relations nor the Bilderbergers appeared. As an easy point, you've decided that having commercial influence — one of the explicit goals of the Republic from its earliest days — is a symptom of an Empire. you've also magically decided that “corporations” — those timid things that ran for funding from the people not that long ago — are our secret masters, a point of such ridiculousness that I have to wonder if you even know how corporations are governed and owned. Last for this list but hardly last of all, you assume that politicians who are in the middle of regulating or taxing corporations out of existence or at least profitability are actually completely beholden to them, thereby making these politicians mere pass-through.

    I bet you think the World Trade Center came down because of explosives.

    I would take issue with your idea of “consent”. I do not believe that the people of Saudi Arabia for instance, have a democratic (or otherwise) voice in the actions of their government. To my knowledge the country is still run under a brutal monarchy. Consent implies choice. Many of the countries that we have bases in have no direct “consent” by the people. And paying off the so-called “leaders” of these countries with money and political support (and military), again, hardly constitutes consent.

    You take issue with their governance? Sounds vaguely neoconish to me. Be careful.

    More importantly, I care neither whether a king nor a bureaucrat nor an emperor nor a Parliament nor a President controls those countries. The government that controls the State consents to our presence. When it tells us to leave, we leave, every time — this does, actually, happen.

    If you believe that the only two choices a country has in foreign policy is blowing them up from home or stepping on their necks abroad then let me present a few other ideas our founders though were pretty neato: friendship, free trade, travel, minding our own business. Strange concepts by today's jingoistic, child-like, war-hawk, sticking-your-nose-in-others'-business paradigm, I know–but not impossible to understand by any means.

    If by “today” you mean “since Madison,” then I agree, we're in newfangled land. Otherwise, you pine for a magical time that never existed. I wish you luck with that.

  • CSBadeaux

    Get back to me when the phrases “return to the Gold standard after the Civil War,” “you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold,” “the Long Depression,” “the Depression of 1893,” and the actual, Friedmanite definition of “deflation” come readily to your lips.

  • http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com BeingJohnGalt

    Federalism and the original Constitution had nothing to do with each other. They presented, not a proposed 'Federal' government, but a 'National' government. He was a nationalist, sir, dyed in the wool. He wanted a strong, dominant central government and wished to copy the government of England and make Washington King. This is not a federation. Those he branded 'Anti'-federalists were indeed the true federalists. Just read both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, rather than believe those who taught you differently. Get it from the source, sir. You will be the better for it.

    Speaking of the source, Jefferson WAS opposed to slavery, which shows more blind belief in what you are told rather than looking into true historical fact. Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence venomously admonished slavery of all sorts, but the South refused to go along with it unless this was taken out. He offered the slave he did have their freedom upon his death, as he thought that giving them their freedom under the current climate would put them in danger of becoming a slave once again, and he allowed them near freedom as time went on, until they were freed upon his death. He was one of the first to call-out the hypocrisy of calling for freedom for all men… besides those we choose to enslave. I don't believe Hamilton ever gave a rat's ass on the subject. Did he?

  • MusoSpuso

    We do not need an infinite amount of gold. Again, that exact scenario is specifically addressed and refuted in the book. It's really very interesting. I had many of the same objections you did before reading it.

    Our current prosperity came from (mostly) free markets and a (relatively) non-interventionist foreign policy. It is only since around Woodrow Wilson has the acceleration in American Imperialism truly taken off. I contend that our prosperity has come not because of our imperial tendencies as of late but in spite of them. Another good book relating to this is “Recarving Rushmore” by Ivan Eland. Shows the degredation into Empire from Republic and illustrates quite thoroughly that freedom, republicanism and free market capitalism created our prosperity–not foreign adventures, money printing, welfare and empire.

    Do you mean commercial influence in government? If so, that is absolutely nothing remotely related to what the founders wanted. They wanted commerce, free trade and open markets to be sure, but they did not want it to influence or in any way be related to politics. Reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers will quickly make that clear. Even Hamilton himself, who for the most part was the most “imperialistic” founding father, would never wish for the politically entrenched system of corporatism that we have today. I am an entrepreneur. I do know how corporations are run and owned. I have no problem with corporations or capitalism. It is corporatism that I take issue with. There is a difference.

    I'm not sure what the World Trade Center has to do with the discussion.

    I do not take issue with governance in the sense that I believe that all countries should be governed like ours (which would be inline with your neocon remark), I merely pointed out the dubiousness of your argument that because we are there, that must mean it is OK–now you say that you do not care what kind of government allows us to have military bases in their country but it is exactly that kind of hubris that is causing many of our problems right now.

    If you don't mind the destruction of purchasing power in our currency, crumbling infrastructure, entrenched political corruption, cradle-to-grave welfare, fascism-lite and a never-ending specter of terrorism, then by all means, continue to support The Empire.

    Old fashioned I may be, but I happen to want what our founders wanted: liberty. And liberty ever and always has been the enemy and utterly incompatible with empire.

  • CSBadeaux

    I have read the Federalist papers, and you've done nothing to resist my central point, instead running with a quixotic, ahistorical view of the fight over the creation of a central government. I wish you good luck with that.

    I've often found it precious that Jefferson's defenders on slavery — what, nothing about his cheer at the murder of children in the French Revolution? Too soon? — argue that he really wanted to free his slaves, but gosh darn it, decided to go the Roman way instead, noble guy he was.

    As we're in a “read the sources” mood, I suggest you bother to read up on Hamilton's views on slavery before impugning him.

    We are, at any rate, far afield. Your central problem is that Ron Paul embodies by turns a noble, at times a racist, and at other times an ahistorical and deeply disturbed view of American history which you and those like you seem to enjoy. I wish you the best of it, as you have neither facts, reason, nor history on your side.

    (Nor economics, but really, when discussing Ron Paul, economics go out the window.)

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    1. The power to print paper money has been recognized as Constitutional ever since the first of the Legal Tender Cases were decided by the Supreme Court. Admit it: You didn't know about the Legal Tender Cases, did you? Note this discussion of the fallacy of claiming that the original public meaning of the Constitution forbids the issuance of paper money. Note as well that the power to print paper money has been recognized as Constitutional via the Necessary and Proper Clause. The First Bank of the United States was issuing paper notes in 1791, post-ratification of the Constitution

    2. Once again, Congress has authorized the Federal Reserve, and can through the Necessary and Proper Clause. That is how the First Bank of the United States got authorized. Per the charter of the Federal Reserve, it is subject to Congressional oversight. Your X-Files commentary on the Fed is irrelevant.

    You were the one who said that paper money “represent[s] nothing and [has] no value.” Why do you think you will get gold or silver for them, when they are as valueless as you claim they are?

  • yossi23777

    Please give me an example, since I am unread in history. Was it the 1890's during President Mckinley or perhaps post world war 1, or maybe 1929, post civil war. Then again anything post 1913 when the Federal Reserve was established and given control of this country's currency is subject to suspicion, so I am curious on your take of deflationary periods pre Federal Reserve. BTW I do not support Ron Paul. That was an assumption on your part.

  • syphalis

    I disagree with your arguement that the founders implemented the non-interference (Not isolationist, by the way…that is something different) only for America as a “weak” country. They designed our Constitution to be an eternal document that could consistently be applied well into the future… not something to be re-interpreted every generation.

    The main idea behind the philosophy is that entangling ourselves in the affairs of other countries will ALWAYS have unintended consequences, usually not beneficial to us. The best course of action (which would also, I argue, benefit the reach of our influence) is to trade and be friends with EVERY country that is willing. Dolling out money to every nation from American tax payers earns us little reward and much contempt. And your assumption that a non-interventionist foreign policy will remove us as the only super power is way off base. Like it or not, America will not be the only super power for more than another decade. Why you ask… because of China, India, and Brazil are growing economies that freely trade with most nations of the world without trying to exert much influence over other governments the way that America does. They do not implement pre-conditions for trade or subsidies.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    1. There is nothing whatsoever in the Constitution that governs what kind of foreign policy approach we are supposed to take.

    2. Foreign aid makes up an infinitesimally small portion of the US budget. The contention that China does not try “to exert much influence over other governments the way that America does” is laughable. I am as passionate a free trader as anyone else, but (a) free trade alone is not going to determine superpower status; and (b) the contention that American power will inevitably decline within the short term is fatuous.

  • idahoj1

    Actually, if you include that small matter of declaring war, the Constitution has much to say.
    We are in how many wars today? And how many are declared? And thus how many are constitutional?
    War may be a small matter to those who ignore the Constitution, but for those who wrote it and those who follow it it is an extremely important part of foreign policy.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Declaring war is not the same–and is not the sum total–of setting out a general foreign policy of “non interference.” Thanks for playing.

  • vroman

    “Why Paul believes that [foreign policy isolationism] is good for our economic health… is beyond me.”

    Sir, I believe the burden of proof should be on you to explain how we are getting a positive return on half-a-trillion per year maintaining military bases in foreign countries and conducting quagmire adventures. It is difficult to fathom how building products and deliberately exploding them, on the heads of potential trading partners no less, is in any way economically healthful.

  • idahoj1

    Actually, if you include that small matter of declaring war, the Constitution has much to say.
    We are in how many wars today? And how many are declared? And thus how many are constitutional?
    War may be a small matter to those who ignore the Constitution, but for those who wrote it and those who follow it it is an extremely important part of foreign policy.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Declaring war is not the same–and is not the sum total–of setting out a general foreign policy of “non interference.” Thanks for playing.

  • vroman

    “Why Paul believes that [foreign policy isolationism] is good for our economic health… is beyond me.”

    Sir, I believe the burden of proof should be on you to explain how we are getting a positive return on half-a-trillion per year maintaining military bases in foreign countries and conducting quagmire adventures. It is difficult to fathom how building products and deliberately exploding them, on the heads of potential trading partners no less, is in any way economically healthful.

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